Europe’s first National Coastal Tourism Academy is to be run in Bournemouth.
The programme is designed to kick-start economies in coastal resorts through the creation of jobs. Initially 165 new jobs will be created in Bournemouth over three years.
Once established, the initiative will be expanded nationally and offered to other coastal tourism resorts, with the potential for a further 2,100 new jobs to be created in coastal communities within the next five years.
Described as a ground-breaking new knowledge transfer institution, it is designed to set a ‘gold standard’ in customer care for the tourism and hospitality industry.
The academy will give coastal tourism businesses access to educational and professional training to help boost their growth and also help develop the wider tourism industry.
Financial support is being provided by the Coastal Communities Fund, which is administered by the Department for Communities and Local Government.
It will delivered by the school of tourism at Bournemouth University in collaboration with Bournemouth Borough Council and local tourism businesses.
The new venture comprises four elements – the new Academy based at Bournemouth University, a Coastal Activity Park to be based on the seafront at Boscombe, a resort-wide world class visitor initiative and a research and development programme.
Dr Keith Wilkes, Dean of the school of tourism at Bournemouth University, said: “Not only is this initiative likely to be of considerable benefit to local and national coastal destinations, but with its commitment to high quality training and personal development, alongside platforms of research that are at present woefully inadequate for the needs of coastal tourism, it is eventually also likely to be of considerable appeal to international destinations.”
The resort’s tourism director Mark Smith said: “This new initiative will introduce a new level of customer care that will not only benefit visitors and residents of the town, but will boost the balance sheets of local businesses.
“Tourism is the backbone of Bournemouth’s economy. And we know that with increased visitor satisfaction and enjoyment, comes an increased visitor spend, length of stay and likelihood of a repeat visit. So this is of significant economic benefit to every strand of the tourism sector.”
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