Who Visits the Coast?

By | Category: Travel destinations, Travel rumblings

Visit Britain have announced the results of a survey on where overseas visitors go when they visit us. There are some interesting results. Overseas visitors spend £2 billion on trips to our coastlines. Not only do we like going there but so do the Germans, French and Americans. Even the Swiss are the 10th most likely group to visit the coast. And why do the Chinese and Russians visit it in larger numbers than our big neighbours and largest group of overall visitors, the French?

But which coast? Brighton is a big draw for visitors with Oban receiving more overseas visitors than either Bournemouth or Eastbourne.

Edinburgh’s coasts are by far and away the biggest draw getting twice as many visitors as Glasgow. And third is Inverness. Why should Scotland get so many of the overseas visitors? It seems that this is partly due to where tourists come from in the first place. Americans are particularly attracted to Scotland and since they are the third largest group of visitors coming to our coast, Scottish cities and towns dominate. The French, for example, seem more likely to go to Cardiff whilst the Irish head for the Newcastle coast. Both of those seem a little unlikely. Would the French be more likely to go to coastal towns in Kent and Sussex and the Irish go to west and north Wales or the Fylde coast? (Blackpool only get 8,000 Irish visitors.) If they are travelling these longer distances there are more opportunities for other places en route to “ambush” them and persuade them to visit their places instead.

Liverpool, Brighton and Bristol are the top three English coastal destinations in the list but only Cardiff and Swansea make the top 30 from Wales. And Swansea is beaten by much smaller places like Portree and Ullapool. Why is this? It seems like places such as Blackpool and Scarborough are much more appealing to us rather overseas visitors. Again, why? The survey doesn’t answer these questions nor why some large coastal destinations like Skegness and Great Yarmouth don’t appear in the top 30.

The future will be for those who manage to gain a better mix of domestic and overseas visitors.

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