Blackpool has well and truly kicked the old cliche of rude landladies into the past.
For the town has become the first tourist resort in the UK to be officially recognised for offering top notch service to its guests.
It has been awarded WorldHost Recognised Destination Status after more than 2,500 frontline staff ranging from tram drivers to Tower ticket sellers were trained to deliver service with a smile.
It is a far cry from the days of the archetypal seaside landlady who ran her establishment with a rod of steel.
Today’s tourism workers are trained on serving customers with disabilities, welcoming people from other cultures and increasing sales through service.
The ambition to raise the bar has been spearheaded by Blackpool Tourism Academy, a consortium which between them operate Blackpool Pleasure Beach, the Tower, Sealife and Madame Tussauds, the Winter Gardens, Blackpool Zoo, Sandcastle Waterpark, Blackpool Transport and Family Entertainment Centres.
Each of these businesses has also gained business recogniton status in their own right meaning at least 50 per cent of their front line staff have been trained to WorldHost standard, in addition to their general training.
A range of other businesses linked to the visitor economy have also embraced the standard, from smaller hoteliers to large retailers including Boots and Marks and Spencers, and Illuminations ambassadors.
Nigel Kilgallon, chairman of the Blackpool Tourism Academy, and a director of Blackpool Pleasure Beach, said: “We are proud to become a WorldHost Recognised Destination, it’s a testament to the fantastic commitment that businesses in Blackpool have made to delivering excellent service.
“When people see the WorldHost logo displayed in Blackpool they will know that they are visiting a place that cares about its visitors and values their custom.
“We hope this will encourage visitors to return and that word-of-mouth recommendations will help attract new visitors to the area.”
Coun Gillian Campbell, deputy leader of Blackpool Council, said: “We are absolutely delighted Blackpool has become the biggest tourist resort in the UK to gain WorldHost status. It’s fantastic that all the hard work and commitment has paid off – the accolade is well deserved.
“With over 2,500 trained front line staff, visitors will receive a world class level of customer service while making the most of our world class attractions in our friendly and welcoming tourist destination.”
WorldHost customer service training was developed in Canada and was used to train more than 200,000 people in the UK, including volunteers and staff at the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics.