Brexit '˜a positive' for Morecambe tourism
Brexit is a major plus for tourism in Morecambe, claim industry insiders.
Experts who spoke at an annual meeting of tourism businesses said Britain leaving the European Union will help attract visitors to the town.
They said Brexit is influencing UK residents to explore their own country instead of going abroad for holidays.
Foreign visitors are also coming to the UK more often because the falling value of the pound makes holidays cheaper.
“It opens us up to a bigger inbound market,” said Paul Bury, manager of the Lothersdale Hotel and Aspect Bar and Bistro, speaking during a Q&A at the Bay Tourism AGM at the Midland Hotel on Tuesday.
“The drop in sterling makes us more attractive.”
Lucy Arthurs from Leighton Hall in Carnforth said: “(Brexit) falls in our favour whether we like it or not. I used to see it as a negative but now I see it as a really positive thing.”
But there was also a warning that Brexit may lead to a shortage of skilled workers in the hospitality industry.
“I think the reason we are seeing a drop in migrant workers coming to the UK is they are earning less because the pound is lower,” said Tom Powney, owner of Briggs shoe shop in Morecambe.
Mr Bury agreed and said: “Getting the skills, putting courses in place that the hospitality sector needs is a real challenge because of the huge reliance on European workers.
“It’s not as big a problem in Morecambe but certainly in the Lakes.”
The success of the Lake District was also seen as a major opportunity for Morecambe tourism.
“Since the Lake District gained UNESCO World Heritage Status, it’s pushed prices up there because there’s such a demand,” said Mark Prada, chairman of Bay Tourism.
“Morecambe is seen as a less expensive way of reaching the Lake District and for accommodation when the Lake District is full.”
Mr Prada also praised Morecambe FC and EDF Energy, owners of Heysham Power Stations, saying they boosted tourism by attracting football fans and outage workers into the town.
“It is nice to see so many people putting so much into the area,” he said.
Cedric Robinson MBE, Queen’s Guide to the Sands of Morecambe Bay, was a guest at the meeting and gave a talk with anecdotes about his long career.