New year is an ‘opportunity’ for Devon’s coastal tourist sector

Jurassic Coast Ladram Bay, DevonJurassic Coast – Ladram Bay, Devon

Posted on: 6 January 2017

Coastal and marine tourism in the South West will be the focus of the Devon Maritime Forum’s Winter17 Conference next week.

Entitled ‘Selling the Seaside; Opportunities and Challenges for Marine and Coastal Tourism in South West England’ the conference takes place on Tuesday January 10 2017 at The Devon Hotel, Exeter.

The Devon Maritime Forum is a not-for-profit partnership with a unique role, bringing together businesses, environment groups, academia, local government – including Devon County Council – with coastal or maritime interests.

The conference  will bring together a range of national and regional tourism industry experts and business leaders and will  feature speakers from the National Coastal Tourism Academy, British Hospitality Association, Visit England and the new Visit Devon.

Representives from Visit Plymouth, the  South West Coast Path, the new English Rivera BID Company, the RNLI, and the Sustainability and Surfing Research Group at Plymouth University have also been invited to speak.

They will explore how and where we can work together to change perceptions, raise awareness and promote the value and virtues of our magnificent coastline and coastal resorts.

In addition they will  also consider how we can ensure that growth in the marine and coastal tourism sector is sustainable, appropriate and considerate of our single greatest asset and attraction – the natural and cultural/historic environment.

The coastal tourism sector is now worth an estimated £8 billion a year to the UK economy and sustains some 210,000 jobs making it bigger than the telecommunications industry and the motor and railway industries combined.

With its specular designated coasts, rich natural and cultural coastal heritage, host of maritime attractions and diversity of seaside settlements from fishing villages to vibrant coastal resorts, it is no surprise that the South West is the most popular coastal tourism destination  in the England and Wales accounting for 40% of domestic overnight seaside trips.

Professor Ed Maltby, Chairman of the Devon Maritime Forum, said:

“This year promises to be a defining year for the Coastal Tourism sector in our county and region with a host of exciting new initiatives like England’s Seafood Coast, and the Mayflower 2020 celebrations, and new destination marketing organisations including Visit Devon, and the English Riviera BID Company.

“Coastal tourism especially in the South West, is on the up and doing well – but it can do much better!

“Research has shown  that Coastal Tourism continues to face significant competition from the city break, and a range of other challenges relating to staff recruitment and retention and a persisting lack of awareness about what the coast can offer as a tourist destination, particularly among the under 35s and international visitors.

“However Brexit and the resulting fall in the value of the pound presents  a real opportunity for the region to market itself  more competitively as a destination of choice for  both millions of foreign travellers and UK ‘staycationers’

“Coastal tourism, therefore, remains under appreciated, undervalued and has significant potential for growth.

“We will explore how and where we can work together to change perceptions, raise awareness and promote the value and virtues of our magnificent coastline and coastal resorts.”

For more information, the full meeting programme and registration details click here.

Posted in: Business and Economy | Environment