Publicising Thanet as a tourist attraction has been “too effective” says isle Conservative Party leader Bob Bayford.
During a meeting of the full council last night (September 7) Cllr Bayford said the influx of visitors to the isle was creating a “negative impact” in regards to parking and, during the last Bank Holiday, people crowding on to Kingsgate beach, which has no toilet facilities or lifeguards.
He said: “Joss Bay and Botany Bay were overloaded so people were going to Kingsgate but this beach has no toilets and no lifeguards. The huge number of cars also creates a situation where emergency services vehicles would struggle to get through.”
Cllr Bayford urged the council to undertake an examination of how the isle’s infrastructure copes with the influx, saying: “It is critical that there is a review and steps are taken to mitigate negative impacts of tourism.”
Promotion of the isle has included posters of Thanet being displayed at train and tube stations in London as part of Visit Kent’s Summer campaign. The towns have also been highlighted in a number of national publications.
During the late August Bank Holiday the isle received more than 120,000 visitors.
A Thanet council team of six collected some 95 tons of rubbish from seafront bins and council enforcement officers issued some 176 fixed penalty notices for parking infringements.
There have been complaints of motorists clogging up residential streets due to the hike in parking charges brought in from April.
Bucking the trend
Thanet’s visitor economy grew 19% in 2015, making it the biggest district tourism success story in the county of Kent and possibly the UK.
The district bucked the national trend with trips to its popular seaside destinations of Margate, Broadstairs and Ramsgate rising by 16%, despite visitors to England registering a 5% drop.
The independent research commissioned by Visit Kent showed that day trips, holidays and visitor spend in Thanet rose considerably last year, with the district welcoming nearly 4 million visitors.
The total value of Thanet’s visitor economy reached £293 million, an increase of over 19% compared to 2013.
Isle tourism in numbers
Research by Visit Kent published at the end of 2016 shows the last collected data. This covers 2015:
3.9 million trips were undertaken in the area
3.4 million day trips
0.5 million overnight visits
2.1 million nights in the area as a result of overnight trips
£250 million spent by tourists during their visit to the area
£21 million spent on average in the local economy each month.
£122 million generated by overnight visits
£119 million generated from day trips.
£293 million spent in the local area as result of tourism, taking into account multiplier effects.
7,312 jobs supported, both for local residents from those living nearby.
6,403 tourism jobs directly supported
909 non-tourism related jobs supported linked to multiplier spend from tourism
Tourism and tourism related jobs are 17% of all jobs in Thanet
It is estimated that 34% of total trip expenditure was spent in the retail sector.
Approximately 27% was spent on food and drink
16% went towards the cost of accommodation.
Approximately 12% went on visits to attractions and other entertainment.
The remaining 11% was spent in the transport sector.