Boosting visitors to England’s coast
01 November 2010
Keep Britain Tidy has opened applications for the 2011 Blue Flag and Quality Coast Awards. The 2011 awards have seen developments from previous years, to further support beach managers and continue to promote high-quality coastal beaches and resorts to potential visitors.
In 2011, for the first time, all award-winning beaches will be displayed on enjoyengland.com, England’s official tourism website. The website is visited by over half a million people every month looking for breaks and days out in England.
Richard McIlwain, Keep Britain Tidy’s Head of Programmes believes this is a fantastic opportunity for local councils to gain recognition for their high-quality coastal areas. “Featuring on enjoyengland.com gives our award-winning beaches a chance to be seen by people looking for day trips and holiday destinations in this country, as well as the wider international tourist market who visit England.
“To be seen as an integral part of England’s tourism industry is a wonderful opportunity for our coastal regions. Our ongoing commitment for the award schemes is about driving up standards of management and facilities on our beaches and ensuring England’s coastline continues to develop and offer visitors clean, safe and quality beaches that they will return to year after year.”
In 2010, 150 beaches around England received Blue Flag and Quality Coast Awards, a 37% increase over the past three years. The growth of the awards mirrors the growing number of people who are swapping their trips abroad for the convenience of holidaying at home. Last year more than 47 million holiday trips were taken in England, a massive 18% increase from 2008*.
The knock-on effect of the ‘staycation’ brings benefits to local businesses and the local economies. In 2009, Visit England recorded a 16% increase in spend at English seaside destinations.
One council that realised the benefit of having award-winning beaches was Copeland Borough Council in Cumbria. In 2010 the council worked with the local community, who were keen to achieve the award, to gain Quality Coast Awards for four of its local beaches.
Diane Ward, regeneration officer at Copeland Borough Council said: “We are really pleased we have been able to fly the Quality Coast Award flags at four of our beaches this year. The local community was keen to achieve the awards as they felt there was a definite benefit in having the flag, especially in helping local businesses, and we worked closely with them on our applications. The application process helped us to really consider which aspects we needed to concentrate on at each site in order to improve the experience at the beaches for the community and visitors alike.
“After achieving the Quality Coast Awards this year we plan to maintain this status by ensuring we attain the criteria each year as part of a long-term plan to make a genuine difference along Copeland’s coast.”
The Quality Coast Award is a national award, applicable to a wider variety of both resort and rural beaches that demonstrate high standards of management, safety and appropriate facilities, whilst also demonstrating compliance with the EU’s Bathing Water Directive.
Blue Flag is the prestigious international award scheme awarded to coastal destinations that have achieved the highest standards of water quality under the EU’s Bathing Water Directive, whilst also providing a high standard of facilities, safety, environmental education and management.
Both beach awards set the standard for good beach management and promote the area as a quality destination, raising standards around England’s coast.