Events prove holiday boost

Angela Lakin with Sam Ward, Agnieszka Lesniak and Mariusz Lesniak outside South Beach Hotel.

Angela Lakin with Sam Ward, Agnieszka Lesniak and Mariusz Lesniak outside South Beach Hotel.

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BUSINESS leaders said a packed calendar of events was keeping visitors entertained during the first half term of the year.

The weather may be miserable but a host of indoor events including the Showzam! festival, Lord of the Dance and Fireman Sam at The Grand Theatre have kept the crowds entertained.

And despite last year being billed as Blackpool’s big year, hoteliers believe the resort’s multi-million pound investments will come to fruition in 2012.

Managers at Blackpool’s seafront hotel, the Norbreck Castle, welcomed coach loads of holiday-makers to the town this weekend.

A spokesman said: “We’re very busy this week with it being half-term, it may be cold but I don’t think the weather’s put many people off, we welcomed eighteen coach loads this afternoon.

“As far as bed and breakfast goes we’re fully booked with families coming to enjoy the entertainment on offer, hopefully we have a nicer week temperature wise.”

While hoteliers said February half-term was the quietest school holiday, the array of family events on offer helped.

Mary Harrison, owner of Ash Lodge, on Hornby Road, said: “We’ve never been that busy over half-term week, probably because it’s the first break after Christmas and the weather’s never very good.

“Our bookings for the week are pretty standard, they haven’t increased or dropped on last year.

“However I think Blackpool has done a fantastic job to provide a jam packed calendar of events, especially with Merlin and Showzam!, there is a lot for families to do and I think as the weeks go on things will really pick up.”

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Last week parts of England came to a standstill as freezing temperatures and icy roads forced many to stay at home.

Angela Lakin, of the South Beach Hotel on the Promenade, said she thinks the weather has affected tourism numbers.

She added: “We had bookings over the weekend for the football and the people travelling from Portsmouth were amazed at the weather here – they had expected much worse so it has probably had an effect.

“This week is normally one of the quieter ones.

“Last year Blackpool Council put the Illuminations on without telling anyone which was frustrating as the more we can offer our visitors the better.

“But I think we are in for a treat this year with Merlin and the Sandcastle, I am hoping for a good year.”

This month The Sandcastle water park officially opened their £1.5m Aztec Adventure featuring two new slides and on Saturday a spectacular refuge for freshwater turtles was unveiled at the Sea Life Centre.

And more investment is planned at Blackpool Zoo in the year of its 40th anniversary.