Blackpool hoteliers relief as New Year's Eve saved

Saving New Year’s Eve is a massive boost to Blackpool’s hotel industry – with one hotelier warning without it he would have had to lay off most of his staff in January.

Tuesday, 28th December 2021, 2:31 pm
Updated Tuesday, 28th December 2021, 2:34 pm

Hundreds of thousands of pounds already spent on pre-ordered food and drinks would also have gone to waste if Covid restrictions had meant celebrations were cancelled.

But the resort is now heading full steam into welcoming in 2022 – with events including a free New Year’s Eve fireworks display in front of the Tower still going ahead.

The family-orientated display starts at 5pm at the Christmas-by-the-sea village on the Tower Festival Headland where the free ice rink will also be open.

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New Year's celebrations will go ahead in Blackpool including at the Winter by the Sea Village

It comes after Health Secretary Sajid Javid confirmed on Monday no new Covid-19 restrictions would be announced for England ahead of the New Year.

Claire Smith, president of hoteliers group StayBlackpool, said: “New Year’s Eve is huge for Blackpool because it is the last burst of trade before Easter.

“So the fact it can go ahead is a massive relief for hoteliers in the town. They have already spent a lot of money investing in New Year’s Eve because they have had to pre-order all their food, drinks and even the party poppers.

“The uncertainty meant we have had a lot of guests ringing up to ask us what was happening. I had to say I only knew as much as they did.

“There have been some cancellations because some people have got worried as infection rates have risen.

“But lots of people are still coming to Blackpool and will spend a lot of money because they want to eat, drink and have a good time.

“It’s also important the rest of the hospitality industry in the town is open, because not all the hotels put on their own entertainment, so our guests might have cancelled if bars or nightclubs had to close.

“And many people are booked in for up to five nights, or for the whole Christmas and New Year, so to lose bookings would really hit have hit hard.”

Tony Banks, who owns The Ruskin Hotel on Albert Road where he employs 84 staff, said it was vital New Year had been saved.

He said: “It has probably saved most of our staff’s job for January. The whole thing was on a knife edge.

“Had we lost Christmas and New Year it would have been absolutely devastating. It would have left no cash flow for January.

“The rooms which were cancelled have now been rebooked by other people, and we have all our additional cleaning procedures in place to provide a safe environment.

“Due to the way the bank holidays have fallen, we had to pre-order all our New Year’s Eve food before Christmas and I’ve got £14,000 worth of food arriving.

“If restrictions had been brought in, it would have been a massive loss. Each time we locked down we lost over £10,000 of beer which had to go down the drain.”

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