A CELEBRATION of your industry and the valuable contribution you all make to the county’s £3bn visitor economy.
That was the Lancashire and Blackpool Tourism Awards, summed up to the 320 guests attending the glittering event at the Pleasure Beach Paradise Room.
The description came from Mike Wilkinson, managing director of the Lancashire and Blackpool Tourist Board, which organised the awards jointly with VisitBlackpool.
He insisted: “Despite the tough times we are all enduring, you are a resilient bunch.”
Mr Wilkinson said that with the demise of the Northwest Development Agency and the loss of its funding, the board has been through something of a transformation with the main focus now on marketing the county and, at national level, engaging with VisitEngland, VisitBritain and other business partnerships. Lancashire County Council had provided almost £500,000 of core funding and continued support came from other local authorities.
BlackpoolCouncil’s cabinet member for tourism, Coun Graham Cain, stressed that the industry was “such an essential part of the resort’s economy”.
He claimed there was nothing more constant than change and more was to come.
“The establishment of the new Blackpool marketing company will see VisitBlackpool operate as an arms length organisation in the coming months and more information about this will follow.”
The ceremony was hosted and compered by Blackpool’s own West End star Jodie Prenger and eight of the 17 winners were from Blackpool, Fylde or Wyre, with a further six local individuals and businesses highly commended.
Nominations and winners: (Winners first):
B&B: The Ashton, Lancaster; highly commended, Langtrys, King Edward Avenue, Blackpool; Dam Head Barn, Nelson; Meadowcroft Barn, Edgworth.
Small Hotel: Best Western Mytton Fold Hotel, Langho; highly commended, The Strand Hotel, North Promenade, Blackpool; Bedford Hotel, Clifton Drive South, St Annes; Briar Dene Hotel, Kelso Avenue, Cleveleys; Millstone at Mellor.
Large Hotel: The Midland, Morecambe; Big Blue Hotel, Blackpool; Elgin Hotel, Queens Promenade, Blackpool; Holiday Inn, Preston.
Small Attraction: Old Holly Farm, Garstang; highly commended, Burnley Mechanics
Theatre; Canal Boat Cruises, Hoghton; Thornton Hall Farm Country Park, Barnoldswick.
Large Attraction: Sandcastle Waterpark, Blackpool; highly commended, WWT Martin Mere Wetland Centre, Ormskirk; Blackpool Pleasure Beach; Towneley Hall, Burnley.
Self Catering:Joint winners, Coast Apartments, Empress Drive, Blackpool, and Martin Lane Farmhouse Holiday Cottages, Burscough; highly commended, Canal Boat Cruises, Hoghton; Bronte School House, Kirkby Lonsdale.
Caravan Holiday Park/Holiday Village: Sunset Park, Hambleton; highly commended, Claylands Park,
Garstang; Bay View Holiday Park, Carnforth; Windy Harbour Holiday Park, Singleton.
Business Tourism: Ribby Hall Village, Wrea Green; highly commended, Best Western Premier Leyland Hotel; The Midland, Morecambe; Pleasure Beach.
Best Tourism Event: Blackpool Illuminations; Battle of Britain 1940s Weekend, Lytham; Clitheroe Food Festival.
Best Visitor Experience: WWT Martin Mere Wetland Centre, Ormskirk; Grand Theatre, Blackpool; Treasure Trails Lancashire; Walkabout Theatre, The Dukes, Lancaster.
Outstanding Customer Service: Michael Gore, Best Western Premier Leyland Hotel; highly commended, Jessica Brookes, Best Western Premier Leyland Hotel; Team at Morecambe Visitor Information Centre; Management team at Stanley House Hotel.
Taste Lancashire: The Redwell Inn, Carnforth; The Midland, Morecambe; Toast Cafe Bar and Grill, Blackpool; The Villa, Clitheroe; Ye Old Sparrowhawk, Burnley.
Visitor Information Provider: Visit Garstang Centre; Blackburn Visitor Centre; Lancaster Visitor Information Centre; Discover Pendle Centre
Sustainable Tourism: Best Western Mytton Fold Hotel, Langho; Blackpool Zoo; Caldertop Cottage, Preston; Ribby Hall Village, Wrea Green.
Access for All: Sandcastle Waterpark, Blackpool; highly commended, World Horse Welfare Penny Farm, Blackpool; Meadowcroft Barn B&B, Edgworth;Ribble Steam Railway, Preston.
Marketing Campaign: Opening Brockholes, Lancashire Wildlife Trust, Preston; highly commended, Opening Nickelodeon Land, Blackpool; Merlin and the Legend of Arthur marketing, The Dukes, Lancaster; Pendle Walking Festival, Pendle Council.
Making a Difference: Joint winners, Victoria Fellowes, marketing manager, WWT Martin Mere Wetland Centre; and Bernard Gladstone, volunteer archivist, The Dukes, Lancaster; highly commended Brenda Atkinson, volunteer/Preston Guild Co-ordinator, Preston Council, and Brian Hall, volunteer Conservationist, Burnley.