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Drive to bring fun times back to seaside towns; Siding with Seaside wants to reverse fortunes of resorts.

Byline: OWEN HUGHES Business Correspondent

A PIER and amusement arcade boss has welcomed a national campaign aimed at "reenergising" seaside towns.

Bacta, the trade association for the UK's amusement machine sector, has launched Siding with the Seaside - in a bid to reverse a decline in the fortunes of many UK resorts in recent decades.

The campaign aims to drive greater awareness of the unique conditions that are creating economic challenges in Britain's seaside towns - and wants more help to drive tourists to these locations.

It also wants issues like parking charges, transport infrastructure and tax on arcades and other seasides ventures to be looked at.

Another demand is investment to ensure the future of major landmarks like piers.

In North Wales, traditional resorts like Colwyn Bay and Rhyl saw their economic fortunes decline after holidaymakers swapped UK breaks for visits to the Med.

Major investment has started to see improvements in both towns but like many other seaside locations more is needed to complete their revival.

Bacta said: "For these communities tourism is a vital industry, and government policies must allow for tourism to thrive, preserve traditional seaside landscapes and provide investment and infrastructures for local businesses to encourage more visitors."

Adam Williams, owner of Tir Prince, which owns Llandudno Pier as well as arcade sites, a fairground and raceway in Towyn, backed the campaign and said the amusement arcade sector has become forgotten in recent years.

He said: "I have been pushing some of these points for years.

"I do think seaside tourism operators have been neglected over several years, partially because we are a small group.

"I do believe we play a big part in customers holidays.

"They remember the big things like Zip World, Surf Snowdonia, etc but the amusements are important in the way it stops their holiday down time being boring, tourist actually visit amusements several times during their stay, sometimes several times a day.

"We invest hundreds of thousands of pounds every year in amusement equipment and our staff."

John White, CEO at Bacta said: "The British seaside continues to be a magnet for tourism and an economic engine for coastal communities.

"The hospitality industry, of which we are part of, employs 1 in 10 people in coastal towns and is responsible for 250 million annual visits, contributing PS1.7bn to the economy. "Brighton Pier attracts an estimated 4.6 million visitors a year, more than the Tower of London or the V&A. "Seaside amusements are a quintessential part of British culture dating back to before WWI and this campaign is about preserving Britain's history of seaside fun for future generations to enjoy.

"Seaside Family Entertainment Centres (FECs) are an important part of coastal communities, providing essential income for families, but also preserving our heritage."

To safeguard the future of seaside tourism and ensure the Siding with Seaside campaign initiatives are a priority, bacta will be touring seaside towns and meeting local MPs to fasttrack support from government.


Llandudno Pier boss Adam Williams

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Publication:Daily Post (Conwy, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jun 26, 2019
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