A BUMPER and sun-drenched bank holiday weekend kicked off Blackpool’s season in style.
Thousands of families thronged the Promenade and the resort’s landmark attractions with traders reporting a booming first date of the 2013 calendar.
Tourism bosses from the resort’s major operators are now hoping for more of the same in the coming weeks after the season got off to a frenetic start.
Ian Hawkins, head of Blackpool cluster at Merlin Entertainments Group, said: “It’s been really positive. What we have seen as far as visitor volume coming in has been really good and after some pretty crummy weather over the last few weeks, which hasn’t been helpful, it has become quite settled.
“The weather was just about perfect for keeping everybody in the town happy.”
A spokesman for Blackpool Pleasure Beach added: “It’s been a positive start to what we hope will be a great season for Blackpool.
“Thousands of families have enjoyed the sunshine at the attraction with many of them getting a sneak peek of the new Wallace & Gromit Thrill-O-Matic ride ahead of its official April 24 opening.
“The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have been a hit at Nickelodeon Land, wowing families with their moves since arriving on Good Friday.”
The Sea Life Centre recently welcomed Big Daddy, a 9ft Japanese spider crab, to the aquarium, and Mr Hawkins says the attraction has been a crowd-pleaser.
He added: “Big Daddy has been fantastic. We did some face to face surveys with our visitors and 40 per cent said they were coming because of the crab, which shows new features bring visitors in.”
Adrian Smirthwaite, owner of The Albany Hotel, Albert Road, Blackpool, says his hotel was busy over the weekend, but called for a bosses to build a new attraction.
He added: “We were quite busy and full of Finnish dancers. Between ourselves and my neighbours we did well and had people everywhere.
“It was busy over the weekend but it was as if everyone was here for the Blackpool Dance Festival.
“Blackpool is in desperate need of a major attraction.”
Holidaymakers descended on Blackpool during the weekend and were impressed with what they found.
Pensioner Pat Gordon and friend Philippa Brookes, 45, from Long Eaton, were enjoying the Comedy Carpet.
Mrs Gordon added: “They’ve made a lot of improvements since the last time I was here and they are brilliant. We are really impressed with the Tower.”
Mrs Brookes added: “I come here every year and it’s great for the Illuminations.
“We love cycling and always cycle along the coast to our friends in Warton.”
The Boyer family, from Poole, Dorset, were also admiring the Comedy Carpet.
Mum Susan, 48, said: “I used to come here every year for 20 years but haven’t been in a while. It’s lovely and very upmarket.”
Katie Little, 26, from Nottingham, was visiting as part of a hen party. She said: “The weather is nice and we are going to Funny Girls.”
Julie Jackson, 50, from York, added: “The Comedy Carpet is a great idea, but you need a full day to read it all.”