Author Topic: The Changing Face of Llandudno  (Read 30407 times)

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Fester

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The Changing Face of Llandudno
« Reply #-1 on: June 17, 2015, 02:31:12 PM »
Now to introduce a topic which may spark a lot of controversy, but that is not the intention.

You see there is a very different type of demographic visiting Llandudno these days, and it has accelerated in the last year.
It is a subject that is sensitive in many ways,  but it is not a subject we should be frightened of discussing.

I note with interest that the old MotorWorld shop in Upper Mostyn street is opening as an Asian takeaway.
That will make 3 in Upper Mostyn Street,  another planned for the old Vollams shop.... and if you include Bengal Dynasty and The Asia restaurant, that is 6 in total for a very small area.
Nothing wrong with that per se, but it does show the different type of products and services being demanded these days.

The Wales tourist board assures us that visitor numbers have never been higher.
This might be true, I don't know, but as I write this I am sat on an almost deserted pier in the middle of June!

The few people who are here, are not what you would think of as the traditional seaside visitor.
The challenge is to cater for what they want to buy, if indeed they are willing (or able) to buy anything!

In addition, I have seen 4 large school parties today.   
A massive amount of 'people', but due to 'political correctness' the parents are under strict instruction NOT to send any money with them, as they are not allowed to spend anything, (for fear of embarrassing children who cannot)

Certain traditional businesses have proved to be unviable and closed down in the last year or so, and several others are 'giving it one last go this year'

Llandudno is certainly changing, and the speed of it seems be quicker than most people ever thought possible.
Fester...
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born2run

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Re: The Changing Face of Llandudno
« on: June 17, 2015, 04:39:06 PM »
Of course Llandudno is changing. The old people who make up the core of traditional visitors are dying out (quite literally)
If Llandudno wants to survive it needs to either cater for families (such as places like St Ives in Cornwall, or Southport nearer to home) or drunks and chavs (Like Blackpool)

Apart from Bonkers fun house and a small play area and arcade on the pier it is not catering for the first lot, and with not a single pub charging much less than £3.50 a pint it's not catering for the second lot either. (Not that I'm saying it should cater to either necessarily)

But if you want the town and it's businesses to 'survive' then the target market needs to change.

DaveR

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Re: The Changing Face of Llandudno
« Reply #1 on: June 17, 2015, 05:32:50 PM »
Old people are dying out?  :laugh:

SteveH

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Re: The Changing Face of Llandudno
« Reply #2 on: June 17, 2015, 05:45:26 PM »
Quote
Fester...I note with interest that the old MotorWorld shop in Upper Mostyn street is opening as an Asian takeaway.
That will make 3 in Upper Mostyn Street,  another planned for the old Vollams shop.... and if you include Bengal Dynasty and The Asia restaurant, that is 6 in total for a very small area
I personally feel that upper Mostyn St. needs more quality restaurants and Bistro's ..not takeaways,... Food tourism is big business and this area has the potential.
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B2R...But if you want the town and it's businesses to 'survive' then the target market needs to change.

 $good$ $good$

ormegolf

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Re: The Changing Face of Llandudno
« Reply #3 on: June 17, 2015, 07:29:52 PM »
   I've nothing much to say on this topic except that my friend Born2Run is incorrect in his opening statement. Sorry about that,
 Quote "The old people etc etc." Not so, according to every single available statistic from wherever you like. At the shall I say top end of the age range, yes, deaths take their toll. But entry into this elite group (note elite. I'm one of them HaHa) is beating the exits hand over fist. Watch out, if this carries on we will be overrun by them.
  Now if you were to say that the new intake have different standards, different desires, different behaviour that is a different matter and I wouldn't like to get involved in an argument on that subject

Jonty Hammers

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Re: The Changing Face of Llandudno
« Reply #4 on: June 17, 2015, 08:31:25 PM »
Fester - you're right to raise this issue. I've waxed quizzical about it on posts ages ago and it could do with some serious research; I daresay Visit Wales, the Llandudno Hospitality Assoc and Conwy's tourism department would have some sort of useful stats to hand which would help give people an idea of the average demographic and whom they need to target for – for want of a better word - “emerging markets”.

Much of it needs untangling – I think Llandudno's blessing AND curse is that it offers such a mixed bag. Now that uniqueness might give it some extra selling points, but it could also hamper it. For example, there are lots of places which are seaside attractions yet not at all like Llandudno. At one end of the spectrum, you have places on the West and South Wales coast, and across Cornwall – beaches that attract a young demographic and target surfers, campers etc and the more “outdoorsy” crowd. Families might also be enticed to these sorts of places as they're an impressive place to take kids.

At the other end, you have what B2R correctly branded the “drunks and chavs” end – not quite as big as Blackpool, but destinations for hen/stag parties and rowdy crowds. Won't attract families due to the high instances of anti-social behaviour and the like. And more often, they tend to have an economic and social background similar to somewhere like Rhyl, or the seaside spots in the North West of England – once a good Victorian destination with lots of nice seafront houses, which eventually became great B&Bs and (later) HMOs. The beaches in these towns may not, in and of themselves, be all that attractive, but supplemented by things like amusements arcades, piers, fairgrounds etc they have been able to make a name for themselves.

And then there are the retirement seaside resorts (Costa del Geriatrica, as someone I knew once put it!). Similar to the above in that they're Victorian resorts but they've not gone down the route of cheaper drinks-party places yet, and instead cater to elderly people who visited once during the 1950s and fell in love with the place. As has rightly been pointed out, this demographic will, over time, dwindle thanks to the natural advancement of time and mortality.

Llandudno doesn't quite fit in to any of these brackets neatly. It has pubs, poundshops and takeaways; but also old hotels and coachloads of elderly visitors; and families keen to enjoy both beaches and both Ormes, the prom and the pier.

And let's not miss the fact that through the Great Orme, it boasts a ski slope; copper mine; cable cars; tram line; fantastic seaside/cliffside route with views across a good chunk of the rest of the North Wales coast and Anglesey; prehistoric fossils; rare flora and fauna; a WWII gun site and, for those who like a bit of a gawp, Millionaire's Row. And for the Little Orme, it has a quarry, seals, the site of the first printing operation in Wales and similarly pleasant views.

Venue Cymru, for all its faults, is starting to tack on to festivals – everything from tattoos to comedy, and the upcoming sci-fi one.

And, through its high street and two big retail outlets, Llandudno also boasts a halfway decent shopping scene, and is a good halfway point between Chester and Bangor when it comes to big stores. There's also an impressive number of independent shops and smaller cafes and restaurants.

Okay, all my rambling aside, the question Llandudno needs to ask is what, with all the eggs in all of the baskets, it's going to do next.

For that, you'd need that demographic profiling I mentioned at the top, and also to take in to account what's going on in the rest of the area. For example, Snowdonia is fast becoming a globally important site for extreme sports, with the development of the zipline in Bethesda and the new surf pool near Dolgarrog. Nearby Eglwysbach has the Welsh Food Centre. Colwyn Bay, oft lamented, is starting to attract big acts and is making a slow turnaround.

Does Llandudno try to go for pieces of the same pie? Or would that risk doubling up and splitting visitors to the area, when it ought to make a whole new pie of its own?

We can't start that discussion without knowing what the current make-up of visitors is like. As ormegolf notes, there are standards, desires and behaviours cropping up which will need to be catered to, and Llandudno can ill-afford to miss out on those.

Fester

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Re: The Changing Face of Llandudno
« Reply #5 on: June 17, 2015, 11:24:37 PM »
Jonty, Mike and all....
Thanks for joining in on this, and a bigger debate is welcome.
One point I will make is that it is certainly not about age, although it is in one respect. You see grandparents, who used to splash out and treat kids at the seaside are now mainly in their 40's or 50's and have endured a good 8 years of austerity and therefore do not have the cash to spend.

For me it is about the change in UK society as a whole, and if you'll forgive me I'll quote a cross section of what I found on Llandudno Pier today.
As a rough approximation, I would say that 50% of the footfall on the pier was schoolchildren, who in the main, are no longer permitted to buy souvenirs.
I often wonder what they get (educationally) from a visit to the seaside.  As a kid, my school trips were always to museums or suchlike??

Another 20 % was made up of Chinese, Korean tourists or Eastern European visitors, who don't tend to buy anything, therefore as a town I can only assume we must not offer what they want.

Another 20% or so were people wearing Islamic garments, or Charedi Jewish families,  again it seems that those communities are unwilling or culturally averse to buying the vast majority of products on offer in Llandudno.

The remaining 10% (yes it was as low as that) was miscellaneous groups, pensioners, couples, locals having a walk etc....

This is by no means a scientific survey, and may well be very different on any given day.... it is merely my observations and I have no intention of offending.
This is purely about the changing face of society in general, the economy and what it might indicate for tourism revenues going forward.





Fester...
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Ian

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Re: The Changing Face of Llandudno
« Reply #6 on: June 18, 2015, 07:45:36 AM »
Quote
As has rightly been pointed out, this demographic will, over time, dwindle thanks to the natural advancement of time and mortality.

Not entirely sure that's true. It assumes that Llandudno's appeal is only to those who holidayed here about 60-70 years ago and ignores the numbers who've stayed here since. As Mike somewhat drily notes the senior citizen group is actually growing, partly because (despite the best efforts of the Government) people are living longer.  I suspect it also ignores the specific appeal of Llandudno: we used to be described as 'genteel' which (albeit erroneously) sums up the gently-paced nature of existence we enjoy and still engenders fierce devotion from those who visit.

Llandudno has long attracted an interesting core group: socio-economic groups B - D and the more discerning family.  Families who want their children to enjoy walks instead of wildly exciting fairgrounds, views instead of variety shows and I suspect we have it about right. No - it's not a place for the hot dog high life, nor for the peddlars of pap on the prom and I hope it never becomes that. People come here because they enjoy its natural setting.  Other places provide the delights of fairground, the smells of doughnut cooking oil and stale grease. We offer something different and I suspect we may be better devoting our energies to improving what we have than constantly casting about for ways to 'attract' more people, or possibly the 'right' people, which is what I suspect this topic is really about. What we ought to be doing is seeking to restore Happy Valley and its once stunningly-managed gardens. We need to actively devote time and energy to renewing the sand on the beach. We need to increase the expenditure on and management of the parks and gardens department.

There's a reason the visitor numbers to Llandudno are on the increase, which they are, and there are also reasons why there's a change in the cultural mix of those visitors.  The first is down to the timeless appeal of our location - possibly unique - and the proximity of easy-access attractions.  The second is far simpler: the cultural paradigm of UK society is changing. It's taken those changes rather longer to reach us than the cities, but they're here now.

It's not a threat, either; we simply have to up the quality of what we offer, happening already through the new hotels and possibly encourage some more interesting initiatives from the private sector. But the identity Llandudno has is far, far too important to be the object of any abrupt or ill thought-out changes.
“Nothing is so firmly believed as that which we least know.”   ― Michel de Montaigne

Si hoc legere scis, nimis eruditionis habes.

born2run

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Re: The Changing Face of Llandudno
« Reply #7 on: June 18, 2015, 08:35:29 AM »
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Old people are dying out?  :laugh:

I think you'll find I said the old people who make up the core of traditional visitors.
There is a new generation of old people now who are used to foreign holidays.
They enjoy being able to do nothing and pay less with better weather.
It's the families for whom getting on a plane is a hassle that Llandudno has to target

born2run

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Re: The Changing Face of Llandudno
« Reply #8 on: June 18, 2015, 08:36:42 AM »
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   I've nothing much to say on this topic except that my friend Born2Run is incorrect in his opening statement. Sorry about that,
 Quote "The old people etc etc." Not so, according to every single available statistic from wherever you like. At the shall I say top end of the age range, yes, deaths take their toll. But entry into this elite group (note elite. I'm one of them HaHa) is beating the exits hand over fist. Watch out, if this carries on we will be overrun by them.
  Now if you were to say that the new intake have different standards, different desires, different behaviour that is a different matter and I wouldn't like to get involved in an argument on that subject

That's exactly what I was saying mike  $good$

DaveR

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Re: The Changing Face of Llandudno
« Reply #9 on: June 18, 2015, 09:28:57 AM »
Some excellent posts on this thread.  $good$

SteveH

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Re: The Changing Face of Llandudno
« Reply #10 on: June 18, 2015, 12:15:32 PM »
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Some excellent posts on this thread. 
I could not agree more, pity you can only press the "LIKE" once......

IAN's quote
Quote
We offer something different and I suspect we may be better devoting our energies to..... improving what we have....... than constantly casting about for ways to 'attract' more people, or possibly the 'right' people, which is what I suspect this topic is really about. What we ought to be doing is seeking to restore Happy Valley and its once stunningly-managed gardens. We need to actively devote time and energy to renewing the sand on the beach. We need to increase the expenditure on and management of the parks and gardens department.

"Improving what we have" .... $good$

Fester

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Re: The Changing Face of Llandudno
« Reply #11 on: June 18, 2015, 05:21:11 PM »
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As has rightly been pointed out, this demographic will, over time, dwindle thanks to the natural advancement of time and mortality.


Llandudno has long attracted an interesting core group: socio-economic groups B - D and the more discerning family.  Families who want their children to enjoy walks instead of wildly exciting fairgrounds, views instead of variety shows and I suspect we have it about right. No - it's not a place for the hot dog high life, nor for the peddlars of pap on the prom and I hope it never becomes that. People come here because they enjoy its natural setting.  Other places provide the delights of fairground, the smells of doughnut cooking oil and stale grease. We offer something different and I suspect we may be better devoting our energies to improving what we have than constantly casting about for ways to 'attract' more people, or possibly the 'right' people, which is what I suspect this topic is really about.


The topic can be about anything the contributor wishes it to be about.... but it wasn't my intention to be about that.
I have to pick out some of the comments made and elaborate further about what I mean.
'Families who enjoy walks, nice things etc..'   There are so few of them these days.   The Socio Economic groups B-D are not as well represented as they once were.
There have been quite a number of shops opening with more tasteful, higher quality merchandise on display.  But that's where it stays, on display... and the shops themselves last one, or at most 2 seasons.  I can list several.

However, those who peddle tat, (or shall we say more traditional seaside merchandise), well, there are more of them than ever, and the ones which are well established have been successful for many years.
Tat sells, and always will.  It's a sad fact, and is a purely supply and demand driven equation.

That goes for food too.  As I mentioned earlier, several high quality eateries exist in Llandudno.... but they have been overtaken very quickly by fast food, or low budget outlets.

Society is changing, Llandudno is changing..... the economy is stagnant (despite what any vote-hungry politician might say)

Llandudno could be turning into Rhyl more quickly than anyone ever feared.
Fester...
- Semper in Excretum, Sole Profundum Variat -

SteveH

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Re: The Changing Face of Llandudno
« Reply #12 on: June 18, 2015, 06:31:18 PM »
With all the variables involved, it's down to coordination, bring all the the interested parties together.....and we are back to a..... "BID"...... :twoface:......strength in numbers....Colwyn Bay are doing it.

Ian

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Re: The Changing Face of Llandudno
« Reply #13 on: June 18, 2015, 06:49:53 PM »
Quote
'Families who enjoy walks, nice things etc..'   There are so few of them these days... 
Tat sells, and always will.

I don't agree with the second sentence.  I suspect there are just as many families who enjoy less technical activities around as there ever were. Many families encourage their children to walk, climb and enjoy themselves outdoors. We just have to make sure there's plenty of decently kept outdoors for them to continue enjoying.

But you're gravitating towards shops again, and that's not what I was discussing. It's really tail and dog theory.  I'm arguing that if we make the most of what the area offers in terms of its stunning setting, its wonderfully evocative location then people will come and shops will continue to adapt to the people who arrive.

There's a reason some families are - to use rather ancient jargon - 'well heeled'.  They're very cautious about how they spend their monet.
“Nothing is so firmly believed as that which we least know.”   ― Michel de Montaigne

Si hoc legere scis, nimis eruditionis habes.