British seaside resorts have experienced tough times of late and they largely seem to be attributing their difficulties to the poor weather and the recession but I think their troubles run much deeper than that. The weather certainly has been awful for the last couple of summers and people have got their financial challenges at the moment but with the pound weakening against most other currencies you would think Britain would look like a good option. Clearly this is not the case and it is an issue which must be addressed if the seaside resorts are to prosper once again.
I think the chief problem here is the fact that so many of the towns are trading on the past. A visit to the seaside is a nostalgia trip and the experience on offer seems to have changed very little for decades. Fond memories of the past are all very well but the younger generations have no experience of the heyday of British holidays and are looking to the future rather than the past. The modern generation live in the information age and are fully aware of all the possibilities available in international travel and the world has truly shrunk in recent decades. The days when few people had left the country are gone and have been replaced by an era when people are travel savvy and adventurous. How many people now want donkey rides, amusement arcades and fish and chips when they have so many other exciting options which can be just as cost effective?
There will always be a hard core of British holidaymakers who visit the seaside resorts but the towns need more than these people to survive. If they are going to tempt a different demographic of British traveller and international visitors they need to stop serving up candy floss and cockles and start looking at what people really want and they could start with the catering! Healthy eating, fine dining and coffee culture are where it is at not greasy spoons and pasties. The old ways may appeal to some existing visitors but they are not going to attract new ones. The kind of people who savour a cappuccino in a roman café or love people watching outside a French patisserie are not going to rush to Blackpool for pie and chips.
The entertainment on offer needs to be updated too. People flock to music festivals, indoor gigs and West End Musicals not aging comedians and impersonators. Casinos are hot but amusement arcades are not and culture is definitely in. The special exhibitions at the London museums can sell out for weeks whilst seaside towns offer nothing to rival them. Shopping is practically the world’s favourite pastime but people want fashion, technology and classy seaside gifts to explore not plastic gimmicks and cheap T shirts.
A holiday destination needs to be aspirational to thrive and must offer a range of interesting activities and attractions that are current and appeal to all ages. The Harry Potter tour at Warner Bros Studios and the Life and Death in Pompeii Exhibition at the British museum are both hot tickets at the moment, people are paying fortunes to see Bon Jovi right now and are queuing for hours to get a ticket to the West End show The Book of Mormon but they are not going to the seaside because these things are not there. Many people would rather Go Ape than go paddling and so something has to change.
Featured image license: Creative Commons image source
Sally Stacey is a keen blogger and enthusiastic traveller who wants some exciting to go to in Britain! Check her out now on Google+
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