New tourism strategy for town

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A new tourism strategy for Scarborough and the East Coast is harking back to that golden age with a call for a renewed emphasis on upmarket accommodation to attract big-spending visitors.

Next Tuesday senior Scarborough councillors will discuss a ‘visitor strategy’ for the next 10 years which says investment is needed in high-end accommodation and to restore historic buildings.

Tourism workers need to focus on “traditional values and genuine warmth,” the report warns.“The welcome visitors receive leave a lasting impression, so the need to improve the skills base of the workforce is of paramount importance.”

It adds: “It is imperative that the skills and image of the visitor economy sector are transformed during the course of this strategy.”

A survey of businesses and organisations heard that many want more indoor attractions and better accommodation.

The desire for upmarket accommodation has been taken on board by the council, but its report warns that opportunities for new attractions are limited by a small catchment population.

The councillor responsible for tourism and culture, David Chance, declined to comment until the day of the meeting.

A spokeswoman for the Scarborough Hospitality Association welcomed the new ideas.

“If we can train our workforce to be more professional, it will be welcomed,” she said.

She wasn’t sure what to make of the idea to make Scarborough more “upper class” but said: “Anything that can push Scarborough back its heyday, Victorian times, is positive as these are the things that brought people to Scarborough.”

Daniel Bertman, a manager at The Helaina, a 5 star B&B on Scarborough’s North Bay, said the cost of car parking could be off-putting, as could the distance of car parks from some hotels.

Mr Bertman believes an improved shopping and dining experience will pull in visitors.

“Scarborough is a university town with a thriving student population. An increasing number of holidaymakers stay in the UK and visit areas such as the North Yorkshire coast. I think retail development really needs to keep pace with that.”

Good customer service is vital, he said.

“One of the draws that keeps bringing people back to our establishment, and others in Scarborough is our excellent customer service and the friendliness of the local people.”

Gary Verity, of tourism body Welcome to Yorkshire, said: “We will watch with interest as any plans develop in the future – as suggested by some respondents to the strategy – for the restoration of old buildings, new attractions and 4/5 star accommodation which is suitable and sustainable.”