Comments made about Blackpool by a VisitBritain official have been branded ‘shocking’ after the resort was described as not ‘pretty’ enough for potential visitors.
Sabine Kalkmann, who works for VisitBritain and VisitEngland in Germany, said: “Blackpool does not have the reputation to be a particularly pretty seaside resort and we want to make the potential visitors want to visit Britain and there are certainly nicer seaside resorts.”
The statement was sent in an email to former Blackpool businessman Julian Allitt, who is now based in Berlin.
Mr Allitt, managing director of independent radio station JazzRadio Berlin, had questioned Sabine about why more was not done to promote all Britain’s seaside resorts.
He told her: “I see lots of news from VisitBritain about London, the royal family, the Scottish Highlands, Edinburgh, Stratford-on-Avon etc, but absolutely nothing about Blackpool, Brighton, Morecambe, Bridlington, Llandudno and other great resorts.”
He said he was dismayed with the response from Ms Kalkmann.
Mr Allitt said: “I am shocked a senior official of VisitBritain in Europe should express such a negative view of Blackpool.
“VisitBritain is part of the British Tourist Authority which receives million of pounds a year in government funding. I find it scandalous that apparently little of this is used to promote Britain’s wonderful heritage seaside resorts.”
However VisitBritain said it promoted all parts of the country including Blackpool.
A spokesman said: “The comments made do not represent the views of VisitBritain. VisitBritain promotes the whole of Britain globally, boosting visitor numbers across the regions and driving economic growth.
“Blackpool is an iconic, fun-filled destination with so much to offer both domestic and overseas visitors.”
They added recent investment and “the growing diversity of year-round activities on offer are putting Blackpool firmly on the map as a destination, demonstrated by the increasing numbers of overseas visitors.”
Figures from VisitBritain show in 2016 there were 70,000 overseas visits to Blackpool, with overseas visitors spending almost £25m, up from 44,000 in 2015 when overseas visitors spent £17m.
Claire Smith, president of hoteliers group StayBlackpool, said it was unfair if Blackpool was being snubbed in Europe because it was not ‘as pretty’ as other destinations.
She added: “We’re not the Lake District and you don’t come here for quiet walks.
“That’s not what Blackpool is about. But for a unique experience, fabulous entertainment and great fun, I don’t know where else you would go.
“We do seem to struggle to get that message out further afield.”
Coun Gillian Campbell, (pictured left) deputy leader of Blackpool Council, said: “It is worth noting that in VisitBritain’s own league tables, Blackpool is the most visited seaside destination in the UK. The resort is unrivalled in terms of its sheer range of family attractions, events and entertainment.
“The investment that is currently being made in new attractions, hotels and transport infrastructure can only strengthen Blackpool’s position as the nation’s favourite resort.”
Stanley Park in Blackpool was recently named the best park in the UK by Fields in Trust following a public vote.