A NEW organisation promoting tourism and business in Lancashire is to be launched.
Marketing Lancashire, an organisation funded and established by Lancashire County Council, will begin operating on April 1 with the sole aim of boosting Blackpool and Lancashire’s £3.25bn visitor economy.
The Lancashire and Blackpool Tourist Board (LBTB) will be disbanded to make way for the new organisation, which will also promote other business sectors that are crucial to growing a diverse business economy.
The new company will work more closely with public and private sector organisations to promote the county as a place to visit, work and invest.
County Coun Michael Green, cabinet member for economic development, said: “Marketing Lancashire is a crucial part of our plans to boost the economy.
“For any economy to succeed, businesses must be given the right type of support to allow them to bring in investment and jobs to an area – that’s what we aim to do with Marketing Lancashire.
“We will work closely with our partners, including other councils, to continue to boost tourism. This will be vital in 2012 with major national events, such as the Open Golf Championships at Lytham. We will also promote other key business sectors alongside tourism to create a diverse economy.”
Mike Wilkinson, (right), managing director of LBTB, is due to retire, and will step down on Friday.
He said: “We have established the tourist board as a credible organisation, with a track record of success that it has been a privilege to lead.
“We need to continue to build on these foundations to put Lancashire well and truly on the map.
County Coun Jim Lawrenson, lead member for tourism, added: “Mike Wilkinson has been a pleasure to work with. He has always taken time to meet with me, whenever we have had anything to discuss, and supported initiatives that we have developed.
“One of those initiatives was to bring district and unitary councils closer together to ensure we all work in partnership to support this £3bn industry. We couldn’t have asked for a better person to lead tourism in Lancashire.
“I would like to wish Mike all the best.
“His knowledge, enthusiasm and ability to talk tourism at all levels will be sadly missed.”