Resort ‘must build on visitor success’

Crowds on Blackpool beach and promenade
Crowds on Blackpool beach and promenade
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Calls have been made for Blackpool to continue to build up its visitor numbers after the resort attracted an extra 300,000 adults in 2014.

Figures revealed by the council yesterday showed the total number of adult visits last year was up to 10.1 million, compared to 9.8 million in 2013. The first part of the year saw the biggest rise, but numbers dipped after the Illuminations.

Tony Urmson, a director of Yes Hotels which represents 232 hotels in Blackpool, said the majority of their members had reported increased occupancy levels.

He said: “Towards the end of the season, the majority said they were full or practically full at the weekend, and we’re keeping our fingers crossed we can build on that for next year.

“I think the increase is down to a bit of everything. The shows in the town were fantastic, and the Pleasure Beach and Blackpool’s Back advertising campaigns on TV did very well.

“The town was promoted and that’s what we have to keep on doing to bring people in.”

Helen Mansell, vice-president of hoteliers group StayBlackpool said: “The fact the numbers are up is wonderful, but I think a lot can be attributed to extra day-trippers due to the fine weather.

“We need to build on that, and hopefully the money and good publicity for the Illuminations will help, and we need to keep up the momentum with the TV campaign.”

John Child, manager of the Sandcastle Waterpark, said: “We did well last year, and it means we can invest in the business during the winter, and hoteliers I spoke to said they were also able to invest and that is great for the town.”

Coun Tony Williams, leader of the Conservatives on Blackpool Council, said: “Blackpool had a beautiful, late summer which will have definitely seen folks heading for the greatest seaside resort in the UK but I am suspicious of the numbers the council is claiming.

“One thing obvious by these figures is that the council is not doing enough to help our hoteliers as despite these supposedly wonderful increase in visitor numbers, overnight stays are down.”

The figures from the Omnibus household survey showed overnight stays for the last four months of 2014 were down 300,000.