Traders hoping this weekend will herald the start of a busy tourist season in Blackpool say confidence in the resort is higher than it’s been for years.
With major attractions such as Illuminasia and Mamma Mia to draw in visitors, one hotel boss said the town could not have done any more to prepare for this summer.
And even the owners of North Pier, who were forced to rebuild after the attraction was devastated by storms over the winter, say things are shaping up well this year.
Peter Sedgwick, who owns the 1,650-foot landmark, said: “We are ready to go and looking forward to carrying on where we left off at Easter.
“I think we are feeling the benefit of all the work that has been done in Blackpool and on the Prom – it is making a real difference. I think people are coming back to Blackpool.”
The pier has a busy bank holiday weekend lined up, while elsewhere the resort is hosting the popular Blackpool Dance Festival.
Hotelier Claire Smith, president of Stay Blackpool, said: “We have had a good start to the year so far and that bodes well.
“I am quietly confident, probably more confident this year than perhaps for a while.
“But times are still challenging. We haven’t really seen the recovery in the north like they have down south.
“And there is so much that is out of our control, like the weather and the World Cup.
“Easter and the bank holidays so far have been good and the weather really helped.”
But even forecasts of rain haven’t dampened optimism ahead of the weekend.
A spokesman for Blackpool Pleasure Beach said: “We are looking forward to a busy half-term with lots of guests here to experience all the thrills of the planet’s most ride intensive amusement park.
“High Jinx will also be kicking off their summer season show on Saturday which is always a hit with families.”