IT’S the start of something big! That is what Blackpool’s tourism industry is hoping as global brand Madame Tussauds officially stamped its presence on the Golden Mile.
Work began yesterday to install this impressive new frontage on the former Louis Tussauds building – marking the dawn of a new era.
When the new waxworks opens later this month, it will see Merlin Entertainments deliver the first element of a package of internationally recognised brands being launched in the resort this year.
Madame Tussauds is due to open on April 21, followed by Blackpool Tower Dungeon and the Blackpool Tower Eye observation deck, both at the Tower, ahead of the Illuminations.
Meanwhile, Nickelodeon Land will be officially opened at the Pleasure Beach on May 4.
Iain Hawkins, Merlin’s head of Blackpool cluster group, said: “The new frontage on Madame Tussauds is going to be a real centrepiece on the Promenade.
“It is an exciting message from Merlin because it is the first project coming to fruition for us.
“There are many more to come but this is the first. We are getting close to the opening of Madame Tussauds on April 21 and this will really brighten up the Prom.”
Alan Cavill, assistant director for tourism and business at Blackpool Council, said: “It is the beginning of an exciting time for Blackpool with lots of new things coming on stream. We hope this is going to bring more people into the resort.
“The council is trying to improve the Promenade on the west side, and the roadway, and now we are seeing improvements in the buildings.
“Madame Tussauds is part of Blackpool’s Golden Mile and it is being brought up to a standard people expect in the 21st century.”
Hoteliers have also welcomed the investment which will see Blackpool boast only the second Madame Tussauds in the UK, after London.
Neil Winkley, owner of the Aberford Hotel on Yorkshire Street in Foxhall Village, said: “There is so much happening and this is the start of it all.
“We are putting up with a lot of disruption on the Promenade at the moment but it will be worth it and the whole area is going to look sparkling.
“I think the benefits over the next few years are going to be superb.
“Blackpool is reinventing itself. People are saying it is looking a far better season, at this stage looking ahead, than it has done for a few years.”
This week Merlin also opened its £200,000 new Claws exhibition at the Sea Life Centre on the Promenade which boasts six Japanese spider crabs capable of growing big enough to straddle a car.
One of a new generation of Sea Life feature exhibitions created by the same team that designs the exhibits for the Madame Tussauds attractions, it was among the first to be unveiled in the UK.
Madame Tussauds is to have a television theme with celebrities include TV fashion expert Gok Wan and Strictly Come Dancing presenter Bruce Forsyth among the figures which will be on display.