Massive investment is needed to regenerate poverty stricken coastal communities, according to the British Hospitality Association.

Many seaside towns have been hit by the decline of traditional maritime industries, a fall in domestic tourism and the increasing elderly population.

Some areas face the additional threat of rising sea levels, especially in low lying regions such as the east of England.

The BHA is calling for a ‘seaside tsar’ to co-ordinate significant investment and the creation of coastal action groups, The Daily Telegraph reported.

It says sweeping changes are needed to revive coastal areas where people are likely to be poorly educated, unemployed or living in low quality housing than their inland counterparts. 

Tax incentives are needed to encourage investment in coastal towns where businesses are struggling to cope with the burden of national insurance and 20% VAT.

Tourists in Britain were paying twice as much in VAT as those on continental Europe, a report from the BHA added. 

Even though British seaside tourism has declined, it still employs more people than the pharmaceutical or steel industry.

“The government and the industry can together create an attractive environment for investment,” the report said.

“Building on the heritage and offer of the ‘Great British Holiday’ appeal to millennials, families and baby boomers we can attract new operators of outdoor and sea-based attractions to modernise the tourist and visitor offer.”