Hoteliers pray for sun after freeze on visitors

A snowy looking Promenade taken earlier this year during a Siberian-style cold snap.
A snowy looking Promenade taken earlier this year during a Siberian-style cold snap.
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Hoteliers are praying for Spring to bounce temperatures up after a chilly March hit visitor numbers.

Figures from accountants BDO LLP show a 9.1 per cent increase in room prices to an average of £51.97 for Blackpool’s hotels and that occupancy figures were down 10.5 per cent, compared with March 2012.

Although the resort lagged behind cities such as Manchester and Liverpool, where occupancy rates were up 7.1 and 3.3 per cent respectively, hoteliers in Blackpool said they were not too dismayed.

Claire Smith president of Stay Blackpool, said: “The general consensus is that visitor numbers were down in March, which was due in part to the bitterly cold weather.

“But we are also in the grip of a recession and we had an early Easter just two pay days after Christmas so money was tight.

“Easter is often seen as a barometer for the rest of the season but not this time because there are too many other variables.

“In fact Blackpool is positioning itself superbly for visitor numbers with the Resort Pass.

“That can be bought well in advance allowing families to budget in tough times.

“We also have Merlin’s Big Ticket and the Pleasure Beach’s pass so there area lots of discounts for hard pressed families.”

She added that if the weather is better than last year’s wash out summer, then Blackpool could benefit from the “staycation” effect it saw in 2008 and 2009 when people preferred to holiday at home rather than spend more money going abroad.

BDO Partner Mark Sykes said: “These are a promising set of results for the North West as a whole.

“Blackpool hotel occupancy is lower than usual, but this is likely to be indicative of the cold weather throughout March as opposed to difficult trading conditions.”

He said the bank holidays would improve the situation.

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