Delight over ‘cracking’ tourist season last year

Crowds flock to the Promenade for the Blackpool Air Show
Crowds flock to the Promenade for the Blackpool Air Show
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A leading hotelier has hailed one of Blackpool’s ‘best seasons’ after new tourism figures showed more than 18m people visited the resort last year.

The Gazette reported yesterday that a bumper 2016 season was worth £1.44bn to the economy, directly supporting more than 24,000 jobs.

Claire Smith, president of hoteliers group StayBlackpool, said: “We had a cracking season in 2016.

“For whatever reason everything came together and it was one of the best seasons we have had in a number of years.

“It was event driven, and also thanks to the resort pass.”

Sales of the resort pass in 2016/17 were up 588 to 15,924.

And footfall figures, which include the first half of 2017, show the Promenade has enjoyed a surge in popularity in recent months.

Footfall was 5.5m between July 2016 and June this year, compared to 5.1m in the 12 months before.

However, Mrs Smith said this year has so far failed to reach the heights of 2016.

“This year it is very mixed,” she said.

“It has been heaving for the events but not so good in between.

“We have had a lot of visitors but they are mainly day-trippers so it has not been the season we thought we were going to have. I’m not sure of the reason, but a lot of people have been cautious perhaps because of things like the General Election, and also we’ve not had a run of good weather this year.”

Major events so far this year have included the Livewire Festival, which saw 20,000 pack out the Tower Festival Headland, and the Blackpool Air Show, which attracted more than 100,000 people to the resort.