Angry hoteliers have hit out at claims stag and hen parties are bad for business because they head to Blackpool to get drunk on the cheap.
The outcry follows comments from Blackpool Council leader Coun Simon Blackburn that the groups are bringing “bags full of vodka bought from elsewhere” and “staying in £9 or £10 a night B&Bs”.
Hoteliers said the claims painted an unrealistic picture of stag and hen parties.
Joe Formosa, owner of the York Street Hotel, which offers rooms from £15 per person per night, said: “It’s like there is a stigma with stag and hens – you get families looking for a bargain too.
“Stag and hens spend a lot of money here – they are vital to the local economy.
“The council is trying to attract families, which is not wrong, but Blackpool is large enough to take both.
“In the season, I don’t think £9-10 rates exist. You can get £15 or £20 easily in-season.”
His comments follow an interview with Radio Wave when Coun Blackburn said: “I don’t see these people as hugely affluent people spending a lot of money.”
Tourism boss Coun Graham Cain had previously backtracked after saying they should “go somewhere else”.
Joe Larkin, owner of The Lark Inn, on Banks Street, dismissed the comments as “nonsense”.
He added: “People who come here with families want cheap and cheerful, but stag and hens come with hundreds of pounds in their pockets.
“The economy here revolves around the stag and hens groups. I would love these councillors to come and spend a weekend with me to see how much they spend.
“The last time there was a fight and we had to intervene, it was a couple. Couples come in and cause far more trouble than stag and hens.”
A council spokesman said the rates quoted by Coun Blackburn were based on two people sharing a room.
Hotel bosses have called for a late-night zone where large groups can go without putting off families. Council bosses say single sex parties are welcome but want to discourage the more unruly groups. It follows a backlash when tourism boss Coun Graham Cain initially said stag and hens should go to Manchester or Liverpool instead. Hoteliers sympathise with efforts to clean up shopping areas in the day but a spokesman for the Malibu Hotel, on Albert Road, said: “Having one area for party groups would be better.”