TOURISM bosses are confident Blackpool’s bonanza Easter weekend is a sure sign of a good season ahead.
As holidaymakers soaked up the glorious sunshine, the resort’s major attractions reported an increase in the number of visitors compared to last year.
And with the official opening of Nickelodeon Land at the Pleasure Beach on May 4 as well as Blackpool Tower Dungeon and the Blackpool Tower Eye observation deck due to launch in September, there are plenty of new attractions to bring in more tourists.
Michael Williams, operations director for Six Piers and Crown Entertainment Centres which runs the Winter Gardens, said: “The traders on South and Central Pier have seen a significant increase in the number of people compared to last year.
“And we’ve got just over 2,000 couples competing in the Junior Dance Festival at the Winter Gardens this week. Sales are up five per cent from last year so we’re hoping we have a busy week ahead.”
The Promenade was packed with families enjoying the warm weather while young groups piled into shops and bars.
Iain Hawkins, Merlin’s head of Blackpool cluster group which includes the Sea Life Centre, the recently opened Madame Tussauds and the Tower, said: “We’ve had a great weekend despite the weather being against us.
“Normally when it’s hot, indoor attractions struggle but we’re delighted. There’s a lot of investment going on in the town – it’s a really exciting year.
“We have introduced combo tickets which means you can see more attractions for less money – it’s a great scheme.
“And we’ve just opened Madame Tussauds which is a fantastic new attraction.
“It’s key the different attractions don’t compete against each other – it’s about holding hands to make Blackpool great again.”
A spokesman for the Pleasure Beach added: “We’ve had a fantastic Easter weekend, especially with the great weather on Friday and Sunday. We hope we’ll be able to build on that with the opening of Nickelodeon Land. We’re expecting a good season for the whole of Blackpool.”
It is hoped the new attractions will act as a boost for local hoteliers.
Claire Smith, owner of Number One South Beach and president of hoteliers group StayBlackpool, said: “We have been very busy.
“There’s been lots of people around, it’s been fabulous. I’m sure the cafes and restaurants have done really well.
“I think everyone is smiling.”