Survey shows Exmouth popular with visitors

PUBLISHED: 14:13 22 March 2017 | UPDATED: 14:40 23 March 2017

Archant

The results of a survey of visitors to Exmouth, carried out last summer, have been published.

They reveal much praise for the town from visitors, although the results show the amount of money they spend is lower than in other local areas.

The 2016 Exmouth Visitor Survey quizzed 1,000 people who visited between June and October.

The survey, commissioned by East Devon District Council for the Exmouth Coastal Community Team, was carried out by the South West Research Company.

The survey found visitor satisfaction levels were generally good, with high scores for accommodation, places to eat and drink, outdoor places to visit, the beach, ease of navigation, public transport, the upkeep of parks and open spaces, cleanliness of the streets, and the general atmosphere.

A third of visitors said that their expectations were exceeded when they visited Exmouth.

When visitors were asked what specific places they visited or planned to visit, the most popular places were the beach (94 per cent) followed by the town centre (77 per cent) and Exmouth Marina (54 per cent).

However, the survey found that the amount of money spent by visitors to Exmouth were below the averages for visitors to other places in East Devon and Devon as a whole.

Visitors spent £15.99 per person per day/night in Exmouth, compared with £33.97 in East Devon and £35.59 in Devon.

Areas where visitors were less satisfied with Exmouth included shopping, the range of indoor attractions and places to visit, nightlife and evening entertainment, the availability and cleanliness of public toilets, and car parking.

The survey found that visitors to Exmouth were predominantly older, with 31 per cent or those interviewed aged 65 or older and 29 per cent aged 45 to 64 years.

Of those surveyed, 75 per cent were repeat visitors to the town, half lived within the South West, and 78 per cent were visiting without children.

Just below half the visitors interviewed were staying overnight in Exmouth, with 21 per cent staying in a caravan or holiday centre. The average length of stay was around five nights.

The full results of the survey are available online at http://eastdevon.gov.uk/council-and-democracy/committees-and-meetings/other-panels-and-forums/coastal-community-team/.

EDDC says the results of the survey will be used by the coastal community team – a partnership between the council, residents and businesses - to ‘help move the town forward’.

The council has plans for seafront redevelopment, with new buildings and leisure facilities, on Queen’s Drive.

Cllr Philip Skinner, chairman of EDDC’s Exmouth Regeneration Board, said: “Visitors to Exmouth have had a chance to tell us what they think thanks to this survey for the town’s coastal community team.

“We now have a good profile of our visitors and what they like and don’t like. Most people are repeat visitors so it looks like we are getting a lot of things right.

“There are things that they are very satisfied with and others that they want to see improved as well.

“What comes across loud and clear is that visitors to Exmouth spend half as much as they do in other places in Devon and want Exmouth to offer them more and new things to do.

“The message is that we need to provide good facilities and offer more attractions and activities for regulars and new visitors to do.

“That works for them and brings more life and money into our local economy. It also means more reasons to visit and stay in Exmouth to bring in more visitors and from further afield.”

Reacting to the survey results, Louise MacAllister, spokesperson for campaign group Save Exmouth Seafront, said: “SES welcome the release of the Exmouth Visitor Survey results. We are pleased and unsurprised to find that 94 per cent of visitors are drawn to Exmouth by the beach, which reflects the findings of Councillor Megan Armstrong’s 2015 Seafront Survey, that people are attracted to Exmouth because of the ‘natural’ seafront.

“The visitor survey does not provide any evidence of any need for large scale development on the seafront, indeed the findings suggest that the kinds of improvements visitors would like to see on the seafront are minor and relate to access, litter, dogs, and signage, again echoing the findings of Cllr Armstrong’s survey of 2015.

“The visitor survey report suggests respondents would like to see improved retail provision but there is no indication within the report that respondents felt this should be on the seafront.

“We are concerned that the report appears to make economic assumptions based on a spending figure for visitors to the rest of East Devon, yet the survey report has not made it clear where the figure for the rest of East Devon is taken from, nor does the report provide any evidence that visitors would be willing or able to spend more.

“SES look forward to the evidence within the report guiding decision making and hope that we will not see assumptions being made from the data.”


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