THE government has praised the work of Bournemouth’s National Coastal Tourism Academy in boosting seaside resorts – but stopped short of saying whether its funding will continue.

The academy, based at Bournemouth University, has already had its original two-year grant funding extended to the end of 2016.

Its remit is to identify and promote good practice in the tourism industry and it has piloted a host of training and research projects in Bournemouth.

A report on tourism by the House of Commons culture, media and sport select committee recommended that its grant be continued.

In its response to that report, the government said it would “continue to work on a national scale to help coastal towns and communities to thrive, supporting their development and sharing best practice”.

It added: “We agree that the National Coastal Tourism Academy (NCTA), supported by a £2m grant from the Coastal Communities Fund, has made a good start and is already delivering valuable outcomes in terms of spreading learning and best practice in promoting coastal tourism.

“At the request of the academy, the Government has recently agreed to an extension of the project's Coastal Communities Fund grant funding period to the end of December 2016. This has enabled the project to unlock an additional £100,000 of co-funding from other sources which will help to deliver additional outcomes to promote coastal tourism.”

It did not say whether the funding would continue beyond 2016.

Jason Freezer, interim director of the academy, said: “We’re extremely pleased that the challenges facing coastal resorts have been highlighted in this response… Coastal tourism is a crucial facet of domestic tourism, worth more than £7bn and offering significant untapped potential.

“From our very outset two years ago we have worked with the coastal tourism industry to unearth the significant new opportunities as well as the barriers for economic growth on the coast using Bournemouth as a test-bed.

“As we roll out our work across England, sharing the important lessons learnt to date, we want to continue to develop the understanding of how the visitor economy in coastal communities can thrive and be prosperous. All our work is freely available on our website’s Resource Hub which will build into a unique online asset featuring best practice, case studies, training and tool kits for coastal destinations.

”We’ve only just scratched the surface and have finite time left in the current project. With additional funding we could continue to address some of the major blocks to tourism growth, skills shortages and job creation on a bigger scale.”