The snow is melting and a hint of sun brings some hope to a hard pressed holiday industry in the UK. Cancellations have been the order of the day so far, not cheer and extra customers. For many years the Holiday Industry in Britain has complained about decline in revenue and customers. For a hundred years resorts had a captive audience from the outset of railway travel until the arrival of mass air travel. But resorts do not seem to learn the lessons of change how do you welcome people into your community either on a day, weekend or weekly holidays?
A vast majority of short stay visitors arrive by car and are immediately faced with the prospect of finding somewhere to park, it is almost as if the resorts are trying to drive them away. You go to even small out of the way parts of Britain the first thing you see is a parking meter, that is if you can find somewhere to park. Surely if resorts want customers to visit and spend money they should make parking available. Perhaps a multi storey car park should be a first priority even to a relatively small resort. We visited some areas of Devon’s south coast and found parking was limited even for locals, and this was during the winter before any invasion of the expected thousands. A rainy day in Dartmouth in December, nose to tail cars all searching for somewhere to park what it is like in the middle of summer beggars belief. If you visit Southsea and you find wall to wall parking meters time to alter priorities, to get visitors.
People used to visit the seaside for fresh air, perhaps some sunshine and the healthy prospects of swimming in the sea. Sitting in a deck chair eating ice cream in many resorts is still all that is available, where is Alton Towers, Warwick Castle, Thorpe Park or Chessington world of adventures, certainly not at the seaside. Blackpool has invested in providing amusements and entertainment, with visitors paying them back by spending their pounds there. But most other resorts probably do not look any different from fifty to a hundred years ago, a long promenade, some rusty huts and a pier almost falling down from neglect. Add an indifference from local authorities, who do not see the sea front or coastal protection as a priority. When East Anglia has completely disappeared perhaps then attitudes might change, but at this moment it is fashionable to allow nature to take its course. It is a lot cheaper that way and as with providing new facilities at resorts cheapness is all that matters.
And that is how resorts in Britain are viewed cheap and…..?
©Michael Douglas Bosc