Poole parking charges might affect tourism

After a new proposal by the council, visitors might face parking charges on roads near the beaches, but according to a tourism expert, this might be a dangerous strategy.

Poole Borough Council intends to extend parking charges across the bay area, on more than 20 roads near the beaches, but according to Dr Susanna Curtin, senior lecturer in Tourism, this can have an impact on visitors returning to Poole. “People properly won’t know how much it’s going to cost until they are here, so visitors will come and explore and have a day out, but it will properly affect their return visit. It’s a bit of a risky plan for local authorities to be doing that, if they want to increase visitor numbers.”

Julian McLaughlin, Head of Transportation Services in Poole said: “The council has agreed to improve the offers at the beaches. So there will be more beach huts, more restaurants and cafe’s. What that means for the future is, that we’ll have more pressures on the roads. One way of controlling it, is through parking charges.”

He added: “It will have an impact on people’s decision making, but many people do pay the fee and feel that that it’s reasonable.

But Dr Curtin warns, it might send out a wrong message to families on holiday, and especially to middle income earners: “It is an addictive expenditure on their already expensive holiday and it might mean, that people don’t stay as long and spend as much as they might have done – had the parking not been so expensive.”

She continued: “The local authorities might gain, but coffee shops and ice cream parlour and all the other industries might lose out, because the money has already been spent on car parking.”

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