Structures that housed soldiers 200 years ago at Fort Burgoyne, Dover may soon serve as self-catering holiday homes.
East Kent tourism leaders learned of the concept during a Visit Kent tourism gathering of stakeholders from the public and private sectors. Those who attended made plans to lure more holidaymakers to the coastal region, from Hythe to Ramsgate.
The East Kent coastal economy currently benefits from tourism spending. In Dover, that spending is to the tune of £200 million a year, not including money raised through tourism-related jobs.
Seminar speakers outlined the opportunities and urged local leaders to highlight the region’s assets.
One proposal was to convert one dozen ground floor casemates at Fort Burgoyne for short-term holidays. Experts projected each home could generate £130 to £140 a night, creating an annual income of £142,000.
Others suggested providing colourful beach huts in Kingsdown, Deal, or Walmer and allowing beach owners to host concessions and other facilities benefitting tourists.
“Beach users could still sit on the beach and swim in the sea for free but they would pay for the high-quality facilities and services on offer,” it was suggested.
Those in the industry predict that by 2020 the UK visitor economy will directly contribute 4.1%, or £87 billion, of the country’s gross domestic product.
At the moment, the tourist industry contributes 3.6% to the nation’s GDP. As a result of such a significant contribution, the UK government has provided funding to several tourism-related entities in hopes of promoting national and international tourism and attracting more foreign investment.
UK Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt said that it was a government priority to produce “the best marketing plan that any country has ever had.”
VisitBritain, the UK’s national tourism board, is attempting to reach the following goals by 2015:
• £1 billion in PR coverage
• 4.7 million visitors from overseas
• £2.3 billion visitor spend
• Around 60,000 new job opportunities
• A measurable increase in positive perceptions of Britain and aspiration to visit
• Partner support for our activities worth £52.5 million in cash and in kind
• Recognition from Government that tourism is delivering on its economic growth agenda
• A series of market strategies which identify the competitive challenges facing Britain, and their solutions, adopted by Government and industry as a blueprint for the development of international tourism to Britain.
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Holiday Lodging (http://www.holidaylodging.co.uk/) helps plan holidays by serving as a portal for all European self-catering holiday accommodation booking needs. The Holiday Lodging website also has access to all major UK and European holiday accommodation providers.