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Tourism: Coastal Areas

Volume 489: debated on Friday 13 March 2009

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what recent assessment he has made of the recommendations in the English Tourism Council's report Sea Change on seaside towns in England. (262993)

I have been asked to reply.

The English Tourism Council's report ‘Sea Change’ was published in 2001. I have made no recent assessment of the impact of that report on seaside towns, but it remains the case, as the report concluded, that seaside towns make a significant contribution to the cultural identity of England and contain some of the finest examples of our built heritage.

In a recent response to the Government Select Committee report, ‘Coastal Towns’, Government made clear the underlying principles that the visitor economy needs to be part of a wider agenda to regenerate and diversify the economies of coastal areas. The development of tourism has an important role to play but it is only one part of a bigger picture and it must also be linked with wider regeneration work in the region.

Last year my Department announced a programme called Sea Change, which will run for three years to 2011. It is intended to boost regeneration in coastal areas through investment in culture and heritage, and, giving £45 million in total, it will encourage new visitors to coastal areas and help support and enrich existing communities.