Jobs boost as Bournemouth receives cash injection to design and build Europe's first coastal tourism academy

The seaside resort of Bournemouth has been awarded a share of Government funding to set up Europe's first coastal tourism academy.

The project, to be overseen by the borough council, will help to boost employment by creating 165 jobs over a three-year period, with a potential for a further 2,100 roles to be created in other coastal communities once the programme has been established and rolled out on a national scale

The National Coastal Tourism Academy will be designed to give coastal businesses access to educational and professional training to help boost the local economy and develop the wider tourism industry.

Communities and Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles announced that the scheme would be supported by a cash injection of 2 million from the Coastal Communities Fund, which will also help five other projects around England.

Its success will depend on the effectiveness of its delivery, through a new public-private sector partnership with a combination of virtual training alongside face-to-face interaction.

Mark Smith, Bournemouth's director of tourism, said: "We're absolutely delighted that Bournemouth is to host the new National Coastal Academy. This is a wonderful opportunity to accelerate the growth of tourism by sharing best practice in a more structured way."

He added: "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."

The academy will be designed and delivered by the School of Tourism at Bournemouth University in collaboration with Bournemouth Borough Council and local tourism businesses.

It will consist of four main elements - the new academy based at Bournemouth University, a coastal activity park to be based on the seafront at Boscombe, a resort-wide visitor initiative and a research and development programme.

Copyright Press Association 2012