THE Prime Minister has urged Blackpool to ensure it makes the most of the tourism boost from the Olympic Games.
During his visit to the resort, David Cameron emphasised the importance of the tourism industry – and said the resort was a special place to him.
He added: “An enormous lot has been done in Blackpool and with so many people travelling abroad, how do we make sure we make our seaside towns attractive to visitors?
“What we are saying to visitors, is don’t just look at London for the Olympics but go to other parts of Britain or come back for another visit, including to Blackpool.”
But he was unable to offer hope to supporters of a campaign to cut VAT for the tourism industry from 20 per cent to five per cent.
Mr Cameron said VAT had been increased to help tackle the budget deficit, and added: “The best thing we can do is continue with regeneration and transport improvements like the electrification of the line from Preston to London.”
The Prime Minister confirmed the resort was still on the radar in terms of future Conservative party conferences.
He said: “The two most successful party conferences I have had were in 2005 and 2007 with both in Blackpool so my heart for party conferences is also in Blackpool, and we will keep it under review.”
And he strengthened his resolve to tackle the issue of binge drinking, by looking again at minimum pricing for alcohol.
Blackpool NHS is among the organisations calling for a 50p minimum price per unit for alcohol.
Mr Cameron said: “I think we need to look at the issue of the availability of very cheap drink, often from supermarkets, where people are so-called pre-loading.
“I think we need to look at this issue further.
“Clearly education is part of it but we have to accept over the last decade there has been an enormous increase in drink-related violence and admissions to hospitals.”