Weather Woes: Seaside Businesses Struggle to Stay Afloat in Soggy Summer

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London (Parliament Politic Magazine) – The school holidays that span across July and August are pivotal for the success of Britain’s seaside towns. This is the time when families come to visit and indulge in various activities such as strolling along piers, exploring shops, dining at restaurants, and relishing ice cream cones.

However, all these plans are thwarted if the weather turns gloomy. This year, the British tourism industry had high hopes for a profitable summer season due to the promising weather in June. It was the warmest June ever recorded, with an average temperature of 15.8°C, surpassing the usual average by 2.5°C.

August Proved To Be Disappointing In Terms Of Weather 

Unfortunately, just as the crucial month of July arrived, the weather took a turn for the worse.

According to preliminary data from the Met Office, last month was the sixth-wettest July in the UK and the wettest July ever recorded in Northern Ireland. The beginning of August also proved to be disappointing in terms of weather.

For Miles Jackson, an enterprising individual in the charming coastal town of Scarborough, most summers bring a thriving business. Mr. Jackson is the proud owner of three establishments in the renowned North Yorkshire seaside resort. These include a joke shop and outlets that offer ice creams, buckets and spades, and other essential beach items.

Trade Takes a Hit Due to Inclement Weather

In July, the UK experienced an unusually high amount of rainfall, with an average of 140.1mm. Scarborough, however, surpassed this figure with a total of 146.3mm. This downpour has had a significant impact on local businesses, particularly those reliant on tourism.

Mr. Jackson, a local vendor, expressed his concerns about the weather’s effect on trade. He emphasized the importance of good weather for attracting visitors to Scarborough, as his business relies on selling ice creams, buckets and spades, and crabbing gear – items that cannot be easily sold online. 

He stressed that people come to enjoy ice creams and indulge in Scarborough’s famous rock candy, making it crucial for them to visit and make purchases.

“When the weather is terrible, it’s a massive blow to our trade,” Mr. Jackson added.

Struggles Faced By The Business Owners By The Seaside 

Bernard Donoghue, director of the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions, which includes esteemed organizations like the National Trust and English Heritage, acknowledged the struggles faced by outdoor attractions. He noted that destinations heavily dependent on good weather, such as seaside locations, are currently facing significant challenges.

Even if the forecasters at the Met Office are correct in predicting improved weather conditions by mid-August, it may already be too late to salvage the summer season for some businesses. Mr. Jackson believes that the damage has already been done, as Scottish school holidays end earlier than those in England. In fact, the majority of school holidays in Scotland conclude by August 21.

The impact of the inclement weather on trade has been substantial, and businesses are hoping for a change in fortune. According to a recent report from MRI Springboard, there has been a significant shift in shopping trends on UK high streets. For the first time in the 14-year history of the monthly reports, June saw a higher number of shoppers compared to July.

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Persistent Rainy Weather Responsible For Cost Of Living Crisis

Various factors have contributed to this change, including the persistent rainy weather, strikes on the railways, and the ongoing cost-of-living crisis. These circumstances have deterred people from venturing out to the high streets.

Unfortunately, the impact of these changes has been particularly severe in Britain’s coastal towns. Footfall in these areas has dropped by 4.6 percent, as the damp weather in July discouraged people from visiting the beach.

Furthermore, reports of sewage leaks near some of the most popular beaches have further dissuaded visitors. A mid-July poll revealed that nearly a quarter of individuals who typically enjoy swimming in the sea while on vacation have decided against doing so this year.

Simon Tompkins, the director at Saris Leisure, expressed his concerns about the challenging season. He emphasized that the cost-of-living crisis has significantly impacted the leisure industry, and the unfavorable weather has only added to the difficulties faced by businesses in this sector.

Beth Malcolm

Beth Malcolm is Scottish based Journalist at Heriot-Watt University studying French and British Sign Language. She is originally from the north west of England but is living in Edinburgh to complete her studies.