British Seaside resorts: from glamour and glitz to fish and chips
The history of the seaside resorts in the UK goes back until 250 years ago. However, in that time such a recreation was a luxury only for the wealthy. Prince Regent and Queen Victoria had enjoyed the amenities in Brighton or Isle of Wight and Ramsgate (Wikipedia, 2010), under the pretext of health, social activity, coffee houses, gaming and theatre (Howard & Benn, 1998). Between 1850 and 1900, the Industrial Revolution and the improvement in transportation allowed less privileged classes to travel away from home. Most holidays were railway day trips to the British seaside resorts (Barrow, 2010). Along with the twentieth century, the developing of better and cheaper engine automobiles let UK seaside resorts experiment a brief boom up to or even after the Second World War (Walton, 2000). In 1974, more than 40 million took a British Break of four days or more (Brodie and Winter, 2007) Even in the 1990’s “at least half of all British holidays were still taken in seaside resorts” (John K. Walton, 2000, p.3). In the same book, John K. Walton explains, how resort life, both for residents and visitors, was a highly significant part of lived experience for much of the British population, making an important contribution to British Culture.
However, a study carried out by Beatty, Fothergill and Wilson (2008), over the 37 largest seaside towns in England found that the employment rate in these towns is always below the English average. The Gross Valued Added per head and average earnings for both male and female in the sub-regions, containing seaside towns are substantially below the English average. The share of adults of working age claiming the three main benefits for the non-employed are greater than the average (13.2% compared to 11.2% in England as a whole in May 2007). Furthermore, since 1997 this number has increased by 12% in seaside resorts while only 2.2% in England as a whole (BBC News, 2007). Moreover, the level of deprivation in 26 of the 37 seaside towns is greater than the English average. The study concludes pointing out, that on average England’s principal seaside towns are rather more disadvantaged, than the rest of the country.
In addition, another study by Local Future Group (2010) in 2010 found, that seaside resorts such as Scarborough, Minehed in West Somerset and Great Yarmouth are within the bottom 20% of Local Authority District Ranked nationally in England with reference to: business enterprise, skills and qualifications, knowledge workers, labour market and prosperity. Others of the most well-established resorts, such as Southend on sea is at the bottom 20% regarding business enterprise and inequality, whereas Torbay fails in productivity, prosperity and affordability. The surprise turns up when analyzing Blackpool, the leading British seaside resort during the twentieth century, reaching the amount of seventeen million visitors per year in the 1940’s (Wikipedia, 2010). The study found that Blackpool is within the 20% bottom in productivity, employment growth, industrial structure, business enterprise, skills and qualifications, labour market, knowledge workers, prosperity, health, crime and natural environment. Between 1999 to 2007 attractions such as Blackpool pleasure beach have dropped the number of visitors by 1.55m (English Tourist Board, 2010).Thus, Blackpool is the 24th most deprived of 325 local authorities (BBC News, 2007). Likewise, 39m nights were lost at welsh seaside destinations from 1978 to 1988. (Welsh Tourist Board, 1989)
Therefore, young people have no other alternative but to leave their towns to find jobs elsewhere. In contrast, the arrival of older people buying their homes for retirement put health and social services under pressure. (Daymail, 2007). Thus, seaside resorts are facing a spiral of decline.
How can such thriving resorts in the twentieth century be facing their decline in the current...
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