Business Tourism Business Tourism Set To Soar In Blackpool 8 June 2017 by Visit Blackpool Blackpool is aiming to reclaim its position as the UK’s premiere conference and events destination with a reinvigorated business tourism offer unpinned by hundreds of millions of pounds worth of private and public investment in new amenities, upgraded accommodation, improved infrastructure and better transport connectivity. At the heart of the new Blackpool Is Booming business tourism campaign, which will be launched at The Meeting Show (June 13-15, Olympia, London), will be the planned new £25m Blackpool Conference & Exhibition Centre which was announced in a speech by Prime Minister Theresa May earlier this year. Being developed as an extension to the world-famous Winter Gardens, the new state-of-the-art 6,150 square metre conference space will be able to host an additional 2,000 people, bringing the total Winter Gardens’ capacity to over 7,000. Due to be operational in Spring 2019, the conference centre’s opening will coincide with the arrival of three new purpose-built hotels within the resort which have already been granted planning, with two additional new hotels currently awaiting final approval. If all five hotels are successfully developed this will add an additional 700 rooms of 4-star or above to Blackpool’s existing hotel stock, including 156 rooms adjacent to the new Winter Gardens development. Another transformational element which will be highlighted in the campaign will be the forthcoming electrification of the Blackpool to Preston rail line due to be completed next May. This will result in an increase in the number of direct services to Blackpool from London and other major towns and cities across the UK. Simultaneously Blackpool is set to get a new tram interchange at Blackpool North Station that will result in the resort’s Promenade tramway system linking to the main rail network. This means that for the very first-time visitors from across the country will be able to travel directly to Blackpool by train and then seamlessly transfer to bus and tram services which reach every part of the town. Such increased accessibility also means that delegates attending events at the new Winter Gardens conference centre will be able to easily explore the whole of the resort including world-class attractions such as the iconic Blackpool Tower, Madame Tussauds, Blackpool Pleasure Beach and Blackpool Zoo. Visitors will also get to enjoy the £250m transformation of the Blackpool seafront, a six-year project which has seen the creation of six new headlands, the development of the sweeping Spanish steps which lead right onto the beach, the celebrated 2,200 square metre ‘Comedy Carpet’ opposite the Blackpool Tower, and the remodelling of the Blackpool Promenade. Central to the Blackpool Is Booming proposition is the increasingly strong partnership between Blackpool Council, the Lancashire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), and private sector partners drawn from across the town’s leisure, accommodation and visitor attraction sectors. This is clearly illustrated by the collaboration between the Winter Gardens operators (the Blackpool Entertainment Company), VisitBlackpool (the council-backed tourist destination marketing organisation) and the LEP which led to the successful bid for government funding for the new Winter Gardens conference and exhibition centre. Such a partnership approach is also reinforced by both the Blackpool Entertainment Company and VisitBlackpool exhibiting together at The Meeting Show next week (Stand I201, UK Destinations hall). Alan Cavill, Director of Places for Blackpool Council, said: “Over the last five years both Blackpool’s public and private sectors have steadily invested hundreds of millions in improving, upgrading and refreshing the resort’s overall business tourism and leisure offer which helped us to successfully make the case to government for the new £25m Conference & Exhibition Centre. “This, combined with the proposals for several new high-grade hotels on our doorstep, and the massive transport improvements set to transform the town’s connectivity with the whole of the UK, means soon Blackpool will once again offer a dynamic, diverse and unique delegate experience which will be unrivalled in the UK.” Michael Williams, Managing Director of the Blackpool Entertainment Company, said: “With an increased capacity for up to 7,000 delegates, the expanded Winter Gardens complex will be able to bid for more international shows and even bigger expos than we host currently. In addition, we will be actively targeting conferences, exhibitions and events that we previously hosted, but which have since relocated elsewhere.” “This, combined with the £500m of capital investment across the resort into new accommodation, better transport links and improved amenities, will be at the heart of the ‘Blackpool Is Booming’ campaign which we are launching at London’s Olympia next week alongside our partners Visit Blackpool. “It’s an upbeat and confident message which is not just based on an aspiration, it’s based on the fact the investment is already here and is already making a tangible impact on the whole of the town.” Blackpool is also hoping to build on recent tourism figures which confirm its place as the UK’s most visited seaside resort. The latest STEAM figures for Blackpool shows the town enjoyed a 1.4% increase in visitors in 2015, taking the total to 17 million, which generated an additional 2.8% in economic impact. This took the value of Blackpool’s visitor economy to nearly £1.4bn. To find out more about the Blackpool Is Booming campaign and get more details on the town’s new investments and major developments visit Stand I201 in UK Destinations hall at The Meeting Show at Olympia, June 13-15.