Delays will not derail Blackpool tourism pow-wow

The refurbished Spanish Suite will host the conference
The refurbished Spanish Suite will host the conference
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Blackpool will still host  a national tourism conference next month despite delays in the construction of the £25m new conference centre at the Winter Gardens meaning the venue has had to be switched.

The Tourism Society's 2019 Tourism Symposium had been due to be the first event to be held at the conference centre which it was initially hoped would open in spring this year.

The new conference centre will open next spring

The new conference centre will open next spring

But the opening date has been put back to April next year after architects had to revise the original plans due to the complexity of the scheme.

Issues included the electrical infrastructure and water seepage and the council invested further funds to cover the cost of extra work.

The Tourism Symposium will be held instead in the newly refurbished Spanish Suite in the Winter Gardens, which has just undergone a £1.9m restoration.

Delegates will be welcomed to the event, titled Disruption and the Tourism Challenge, on September 23 and 24 by Sir Andrew Parmley, a former Lord Mayor of London who grew up in South Shore.

Other speakers will include Blackpool Transport boss Jane Cole, Kate Shane who heads up Merlin's cluster of attractions in the resort which include the Tower, and Adrian Mills, general manager for BBC North.

On the first afternoon delegates will have the option of a heritage tour of Blackpool Tower, Tour of the Pleasure Beach or Tram ride with tour guide to the tram depot and return or heritage tour of the Winter Gardens.

The Tourism Society said the conference was "designed to challenge and provoke" with speakers "from every corner of Britain."

They will examine issues such as the growth in the use of mobile phones and social media platforms as well as new trends such as the demand for personalised experiences.

Other subjects featuring in the programme will include new marketing concepts including storytelling and the potential for the increased use of artificial intelligence in promoting destinations.

Tourism Society chairman Kevin Kaley said: “We are very excited about the line-up of speakers and sessions at this year’s event.

"Blackpool, the traditional home of the British holiday, will provide the ideal setting to discuss the challenges facing the tourism industry moving forward.”

The Tourism Society is the professional membership body for people working in all sectors of the tourism industry.