Heatwave brings in thousands to resort

Pictures Martin Bostock'Crowds on Blackpool beach and promenade, Saturday 8th June 2013.
Pictures Martin Bostock'Crowds on Blackpool beach and promenade, Saturday 8th June 2013.
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Scorching sunshine and soaring temperatures have kickstarted Blackpool’s summer season and sparked a massive boost for businesses across the Fylde coast – with firms today hailing one of the busiest periods on record.

Temperatures over the past fortnight have reached heights unseen for more than half a decade, which in turn has encouraged

thousands of extra visitors to flock to the Fylde coast.

And while the weather is set to turn, traders in Blackpool have reported rocketing business, while tourism chiefs estimate there has been a four figure increase in the number of visitors.

Meanwhile hotel bosses say they have been close to bursting while one landlord said pubs in one part of the resort had seen 50 per cent more people through the doors compared to last year.

Craig Southall, of Blackpool Pubwatch, said: “Year-on-year we have seen an increase in visitors. Just looking at midweek we are 10 per cent up. South Shore has massively picked up, they are seeing 50 per cent extra on last year.”

Helen Mansell, of the Bamford House hotel, in York Street, and a director of StayBlackpool, said she had seen an increase in visitors, especially at weekends, adding: “It has been very busy out and about.

“It was quiet until the sun shone but it has made an impact.”

She also predicted more visitors would now arrive as school holidays across the country begin and said many families had already arrived in the town.

Luca Notarianni, of Notarianni Ice Cream, on Waterloo Road, South Shore, said: “It’s been one of our best summers yet, the last decent summer we had was in 2006.

The weather usually helps with there being lots more people in town. It’s been non-stop, which is what we want and long may it continue.”

Suzanna Edge, who runs donkey rides at Blackpool beach, said: “I’ve never known so many people to be here, we’ve needed it really after the past few years.”

The demand for ice and cooling machines has skyrocketed across the country, meaning Ice Co’s Fleetwood plant has taken on extra temporary staff to meet demand.

Managing director, Paul Doughty, says production at the Dock Avenue site is “off the scale”.

He said: “The orders that we’ve had over the past couple of weeks are four or five times the normal weekly volume so we’ve been trying to keep up production and manage demand.”

Marketing Blackpool said it was too early to say how many extra visitors the hot spell had brought, but there has been an increase of nearly 300 per cent in sales of the Resort Pass, which offers admission to multiple attractions, compared to last year.

Between February and this month, 6,500 passes have been sold.

Managing director Natalie Wyatt (pictured) said: “It is great to see so many people enjoying this fantastic sunshine.

“If anyone is planning a Blackpool holiday I would urge them to book now because if this continues, I anticipate that our accommodation providers will be filling up quickly also.”

Iain Hawkins, boss of Merlin’s attractions in Blackpool, including The Tower, The Dungeon and Madame Tussauds, said the firm had “definitely seen some increase due to the sunshine.”

Blackpool Pleasure Beach said thousands of families had visited the attraction since the hot spell started.

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