Coronavirus kills British seaside resorts: tourists abandon recreational beaches | United Kingdom | New
Brighton suffers from a lack of tourists
Attendance has dropped by almost half at some resorts and the cost to the economy could reach Â£ 4 billion in England alone. Indeed, coastal tourism accounts for around Â£ 8 billion a year, with 13.7 million seaside trips made. These represent a third of all overnight stays. But economists say the COVID-19 crisis has taken such a slice of the proceeds that coastal communities have no choice but to think again.
There was some joy in August thanks to the Eat Out To Help Out program and a relaxation of the lockdown rules.
But the number of visitors was still low compared to last year, and the advent of the second lockdown was devastating.
Brighton Pier boss Luke Johnson, 58, has attacked the government for reintroducing stricter rules – the city will be subject to level 2 restrictions from Wednesday – saying they have caused a “cycle of unemployment mass, suicides and bankruptcies “.
He added: âIt is deeply disappointing to me that the government is continuing its failed lockdown strategy.
Southend-on-Sea attendance is down 17%
âThe collateral damage of these restrictions and the fear promoted by the authorities have a catastrophic impact on our way of life.
âThe loss of jobs, the detrimental effects on mental health, damage to education, national finances and the treatment of other diseases will cause much more hardship than the virus itself.
âI think the government and their advisers at Sage need to focus on protecting the vulnerable, while allowing the majority of the population – who are at low risk of contracting the virus – to resume normal lives.
âOtherwise, we are doomed to an endless cycle of destructive and unnecessary blockages, mass unemployment, suicides, bankruptcies, evictions and economic, cultural and social ruin. “
Meanwhile, in the north, Blackpool is also feeling the pinch.
Pleasure Beach and three piers were closed again following the second lockdown.
The Christmas lights were also suspended.
Pleasure Beach manager Amanda Thompson has denounced the decision to place the town and the rest of Lancashire at level 3 from Wednesday – which means it will be under the strictest rules.
She tweeted: “It looks like today is unfortunately our last day of this 2020 season. I’m so sorry we couldn’t be there for all of you. But we will open for the first weekend of February. 2021. I hope we will play Aladdin this month of December and the Dinner Show in Paradise. The Grotto too. Goodbye.”
The resort had previously experienced difficulties as hotels were allowed to remain open while visitors were discouraged from going there.
The reality of the events of 2020 for besieged beachside traders desperately trying to make a living is undeniably grim.
On Blackpool’s seafront promenade, Steve McGill, 40, of I Love Food takeaway outlet, has spoken much of the effects of the pandemic and two nationwide lockdowns.
He said, âIt killed us. Look around you. There is no one here.
And figures from data analytics experts Center for Cities confirm that average attendance at the end of October compared to the last week of August, when it was already below normal, has fallen to unprecedented levels.
Blackpool saw a drop of 44% while Bournemouth in the south saw a drop of 45%.
Worthing in West Sussex, Southend in Essex and Brighton in East Sussex also saw significant declines over the same period, of 18%, 17% and 15% respectively.
Center for Cities spokesperson Andrew Carter said, âTourism dominates the economies of seaside towns and villages. Although they have experienced a boom this summer as travel restrictions and Eat Out To Help Out have Boosted domestic tourists, they saw a sharp drop in visitor numbers this fall. This seasonal economy is not unusual for seaside towns and villages, and visitor numbers will likely increase next summer. However, in the long run , places like Blackpool and Bournemouth should seek to diversify their economies to ensure they are not too reliant on tourism. “
It is not just the large seaside resorts that have been hit hard by the pandemic.
A House of Lords report shows that small seaside towns are “at the end of the line” economically and geographically.