Full Steam Ahead for Destination Blackpool
Blackpool’s ambition to maintain its position as the UK’s most popular seaside resort is set out in a new version of its destination management plan.
The second edition of Destination Blackpool showcases the huge strides that have been made over the past few years with hundreds of millions of pounds of public and private sector investment in new attractions, events and tourism infrastructure.
Since 2015, the resort has seen its visitor numbers grow from 17m to 18m per annum and the value of its overall visitor economy exceed £1.5bn for the first time.
The updated version of the plan sets out the keynote projects over the next three years that will further cement Blackpool’s place as the country’s most visited resort, targeting new generations of leisure and business tourists.
These projects include:
The long-awaited development of the Blackpool Central site, a prime location in the heart of the resort that was once earmarked for a Vegas-style casino, but now destined to be the home of a unique collection of world-class attractions, including the UK’s first “flying theatre”
Completion of a new conference centre adjacent to the Winter Gardens, a development that will bring higher-spending visitors to the resort and play a key role in meeting the ambition for Blackpool to become a year-round destination
Construction of several next-generation quality hotels that will not only complement and enhance the existing offer for leisure visitors, but also form an important part of the jigsaw in winning new conference business
Much-improved transport infrastructure including a tramway extension from North Pier to Blackpool North Railway Station as part of the Talbot Gateway town centre regeneration scheme
Opening of a new Blackpool Museum on the historic Golden Mile which will celebrate the resort’s unique place in popular culture as the birthplace of mass tourism and entertainment
The plan, developed by Blackpool Council’s tourism arm, VisitBlackpool, states: “The challenge is to gradually reposition the resort offer so that it evolves into a place that has a rich and unique mix of heritage and contemporary attractions; one that has undoubted appeal to an aspirational family audience and one that is well placed to take advantage of changes in domestic and international holiday trends.”
The three-year timeline in the refreshed plan sets out key milestones for completion of the major projects as well as projected dates for introduction of new events and visitor attractions. By the end of the plan’s lifespan in 2021, it is envisaged that headline visitor numbers will have increased by almost half a million compared to 2017.
Alan Cavill, Blackpool Council’s Director of Communications & Regeneration, said: “Blackpool’s future success lies in the continual reinvention of the tourism offer – we cannot afford to stand still.
“The proposed programme of work that will be undertaken within the lifespan of this plan represents investment on a scale that has not been seen for decades.
“We are confident that this will deliver true and lasting transformational change that will stand Blackpool in good stead for years to come.”
Destination Blackpool, Resort Place-Making 2019-2021 can be viewed at this link here.