DCSIMG

Council takes back control of tourism

A less than half full arena led to a �372,000 loss at this years Illuminations Switch-On.  Below: The councils assistant chief exectutive Alan Cavill.

A less than half full arena led to a �372,000 loss at this years Illuminations Switch-On. Below: The councils assistant chief exectutive Alan Cavill.

 

Councillors from both sides of the chamber have voted to bring Blackpool’s tourism company back in-house.

The move means Marketing Blackpool will now be formally wound up with all its assets and liabilities transferred back to the council.

This includes debts of £288,000 which includes losses from this year’s Illuminations Switch-On ceremony.

As reported in yesterday’s Gazette, Marketing Blackpool managing director Natalie Wyatt has left her post to take up a new job in Manchester.

Following last night’s full council vote, tourism marketing will be absorbed into the council directorate headed by Alan Cavill, assistant chief executive for regeneration.

But council leader Simon Blackburn said a new head of tourism would be announced in due course.

He told a meeting of the full council: “I believe this decision was right to take.

“I agree there needs to be a tourism head in Blackpool and people can expect an announcement about that in due course.

“The former managing director has chosen to move on.

“I am happy that Mr Cavill’s directorate is the right place for this to sit.”

Marketing Blackpool was set up two years ago as an “arms length company” to encourage private sector involvement in tourism although it was council financed.

Coun Blackburn said one aim had been to try and scale back the annual expense of the Switch-On event which was costing the council, on average, around £150,000 a year.

He said: “We had hoped that by Marketing Blackpool taking a more commercial approach to the Switch-On that, over a period of time, the contribution by the council would lessen until we reached a point where net contribution to the Switch-On was zero.

“To be fair to Marketing Blackpool, there was never an expectation that net cost would be zero in the first year but clearly I shared the disappointment the loss was what it was.

“But there was a specific set of circumstances.”

This year’s event was hit by the last minute pulling out of rock band The Script with Gary Barlow stepping in to replace them in return for a donation to Children In Need.

It meant the Switch-On made a loss of £372,109.

Conservative group leader Coun Tony Williams said it was key Blackpool continued to have a tourism figurehead.

He said: “It’s all very well to take it in-house but not to just lump it in with another officer’s portfolio. In the long term we are losing that expertise.”

Follow us on twitter @The_Gazette and like our page on facebook to keep up with all the latest news.

 

Comments

 
 

Back to the top of the page