Sun, sea, sand and culture

RICHARD BATSON British holiday resorts can rekindle their heydays by promoting their history and culture as well as their sand and sea. That is the view of a Norfolk councillor who is the new chairman of the nation's resorts association.

RICHARD BATSON

British holiday resorts can rekindle their heydays by promoting their history and culture as well as their sand and sea.

That is the view of a Norfolk councillor who is the new chairman of the nation's resorts association.

Growing concerns that tourist jet travel was harming the planet could also encourage people to look closer to home for their holidays and focussed on domestic destinations, said Hilary Nelson, who lives in the north Norfolk resort of Sheringham.

Traditional resorts went into decline after the trend towards foreign package holidays started taking away their customers in the 1960s.

But many resorts were now regenerating - and doing it tastefully in a way their preserved the historic charm of their past.

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Others were striving to ensure they had things to do - such as museums and theatres - if the weather was not quite as sunny as on the continent, as well as promoting special interest areas such as bird watching and culture.

As chairman of the British Resorts and Destinations Association, Mrs Nelson said she would be striving for more government support for resorts, including a greater understanding of the need to shore up sea defences.

Resorts had been dealing with problems from crumbling facades to big hotels and guest houses being turned into scruffy bedsits.

But most were improving, and Brada - a combination of seashore and inland destinations, councils and commercial operators - would be seeking further progress through parliamentary lobbying and promotional help.

Mr Nelson said North Norfolk was “punching above our weight” and leading by example, by restoring its Victorian streets, and making Cromer's pier end theatre and all year round attraction rather than just a summer haunt.

“We all love golden sands, and still want people to come and enjoy are award winning beaches, but resorts also have incredible heritage,” she added.

Awareness was also being helped by television programmes such as Coast and Restoration.

Many visitors were people seeking a second holiday or long weekend rather than a main family break, so resorts had to adjust what they offered.

Mrs Nelson, a former registrar at Gresham's School for 10 years, has been a North Norfolk District Council member since 1995. She moved to Sheringham from Cambridge in 1972, where she studied the history of art, ran a gallery, and a company publicity department before a 20 year career as a medical secretary.

More information about Brada is on its website www.britishresorts.co.uk