Cash-strapped British holidaymakers are opting for a UK seaside break instead of taking a foreign holiday.
There has been a 21% rise in overnight stays and 23% more cash spent in Britain's coastal towns this year.
Some 60% of us will visit the coast in the summer, with an expected spend of £322 each, according to motoring and leisure group CSMA Club. British tourists are expected to spend £9 billion at the coast this summer.
Brighton & Hove, Torbay and Blackpool were the most popular seaside towns, based on the number of visitors to tourist attractions and the number of tourism-related businesses in the area. They also received the most investment of £23 million, £22 million and £11 million respectively.
Whitstable and Eastbourne were the fastest growing seaside resorts according to the growth in tourism-related businesses, number of employees and growth in visitor numbers to tourist attractions. They were followed by Penzance, Weymouth, Portland, Brighton and Hove and Worthing.
A CSMA spokesman told the Independent: 'Gone are the days of a donkey ride on the beach and a round of crazy golf - as one in six British holidaymakers opt for fine dining in the afternoon, with many UK holidaymakers planning trips to artisan markets, antique shops and art galleries.'
And despite a trend towards high-end breaks, six in 10 holidaymakers say they plan to eat fish and chips and four in 10 say they will go for a stroll on the pier.
Mark Rothery, group chief executive of CSMA Club, said: 'Today's research proves that the British seaside is on the way up and with that the quality of hotels and guest houses has also improved.'
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