Blackpool can be the new Orlando

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BLACKPOOL was today heralded as the ‘British Orlando’ – boasting more top attractions than any other resort in Europe

Nick Varney, global chief executive of Merlin Entertainments, which operates The Tower, compared the town to Florida’s leading destination.

Nick Varney, chief executive of Merlin

Nick Varney, chief executive of Merlin

And welcoming entertainment legend Bruce Forsyth to Merlin’s new Madame Tussauds attraction, Mr Varney said Blackpool would be Europe’s premier family resort.

Today marked the first year since Blackpool Council became owners of The Tower, Winter Gardens and Golden Mile Centre.

This year will see Madame Tussauds, the Blackpool Dungeon, the Blackpool Tower Eye and the restored Tower Ballroom open, while in other parts of the town investment is being made in Nickelodeon at the Pleasure Beach, and in two new rides for Sandcastle Waterworld.

Mr Varney said founding the town’s rebirth on family attractions should always have been ‘plan A’.

He said: “By September 1, Blackpool will have more premier league attractions than any other resort in Europe. They say every cloud has a silver lining and in my view, the particular cloud that cast down the supercasino project actually turned out to be pure gold.”

He added: “Everyone was saying Blackpool would be the Las Vegas-on-sea but a better direction is as a quintessentially British Orlando.

“The moment the supercasino went down the plug-hole, I was talking to a number of people about bringing in family brands to go down the route of what I would have said was plan A in the first place.

“Blackpool is a 21st century resort now. People will go online and arrive here with their tickets and visit all the attractions.”

FOR THE FULL STORY SEE WEDNESDAY’S GAZETTE