SEASIDE towns are reporting a boom as more people appear to be opting for “staycations” at the coast during tough economic times.

New research has revealed that the seaside tourism industry is growing, as the sector continues to employ more people.

The findings dispel fears that the cost of living crisis was resulting in a big fall in spending on leisure and tourism as households tightened their belts.

Researchers at Sheffield Hallam University say more than 200,000 jobs are now directly supported by the sector in England and Wales and this figure has continued to grow.

The Sheffield team say seaside tourism now employs more people than the motor industry, aerospace, pharmaceuticals or steel.

A number of resorts in the region were included in the list of 63 locations where more than 1,000 jobs are directly supported by tourism.

Blackpool is still the biggest resort in terms of seaside tourism jobs with nearly 16,000.

The 12th largest collection of jobs was in Scarborough, where 3,800 people are believed to be employed. There are 1,900 jobs in Whitby directly supported by tourism.