The National Coastal Tourism Academy (NCTA) has worked with market research consultancy BVA BDRC to identify the specific intentions and motivations of British holidaymakers to the coast to help address key challenges facing seaside resorts; the findings are published in a comprehensive Holiday Trends 2019 report.
It finds that Millennials, the important 22 to 37-year old age group, are the least likely age cohort to visit the coast, seeing it as ‘old-fashioned' but whilst being reluctant to take a seaside break, this age group is the most likely to holiday in the UK, highlighting an urgent need for coastal resorts to target this sector to reverse their perceptions.
Nevertheless, the report brings positive news for addressing one of the coast's biggest challenges - seasonality; of the 1,000 polled, 28% believe some activities are at their best in winter with 51% saying the coast offers activities year-round.
Breaks most likely to provide winter appeal include learning a new skill, volunteering, food and drink and history and culture, these are followed by an interest in wellness, nature and wildlife escapes. Notably, Millennials show a particular interest in these activities, suggesting that coastal destinations that provide them may offer a gateway to attracting this generation.
"This latest report backs up last year's research which shows young people are missing out on huge opportunities to holiday on the coast because of lack of awareness, but they don't dismiss a break to the seaside out of hand," says NCTA Academy Director Samantha Richardson.
"It's crucial that coastal resorts attract this age group if they are to thrive as successful tourist destinations long-term. They have grown up with low-cost airfares and budget accommodation plus a strong desire to travel globally without knowing what is right on their door-step.
"Unless they discover the English coast's beauty, the rugged cliff-tops and castles of Northumberland and Yorkshire, seal-spotting and nature on the east coast to the water sports and cultural towns in the south and south west, this will be a lost generation."
The report says all types of domestic breaks have increased in popularity since 2017 but seaside breaks have seen the biggest overall jump.
Jon Young, Research Director from BVA BDRC adds, "The millennial age cohort tends to be open to new ideas, and so negative perceptions of the coast can be easily turned around.
This age group tends to be drawn to unique, immersive, shared and transformational experiences, with Instagrammable opportunities a must. The English coast can provide these experiences in spades (although the bucket may be a bit too old-fashioned these days)."
You can download the report at www.holidaytrends2019.com