New data shows visitors flocked to Blackpool Promenade this summer despite cost of living squeeze

New figures show Blackpool continued to pull in millions of visitors this summer despite challenges including the cost of living crisis.
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Footfall on the Promenade between April and August increased by eight per cent this year compared to 2022 with 23.5 million people visiting the seafront – up from 21.8 million last year.

Figures for the town centre show a five per cent increase in footfall – from almost 14 million in 2022, to almost 14.7 million this year.

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The figures have been collected by Blackpool Council from Visitor Insights, a method of monitoring that provides anonymous GPS and mobile phone tracking data.

Crowds flocked to the Prom for the Blackpool Airshow in AugustCrowds flocked to the Prom for the Blackpool Airshow in August
Crowds flocked to the Prom for the Blackpool Airshow in August

There are a number of sensor sites that give the total number of unique individuals in a given area.

The figures are due to be presented to a meeting of the council’s Levelling Up Scrutiny Committee on Wednesday, November 8.

A report to the committee says factors including rising inflation, the squeeze on people’s living costs, a wet July and sewage discharges affecting the bathing water quality made 2023 a more challenging season.

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But it adds: “As we moved into the second half of August, the weather gradually improved and stabilised coinciding with the launch of our major events programme, and we saw a significant improvement in visitor numbers. This trend continued into September.”

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However rail strikes disrupted some people’s travel plans, with a direct impact on the Illuminations Switch On and the World Fireworks Championships.

The number of inbound rail passengers is down by seven per cent between April and August compared to last year.

Claire Smith, president of hoteliers group StayBlackpool, said 2023 had been a challenging year for holiday accommodation providers with visitors opting for shorter stays in order to save money.

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She said: “The town has been busy and accommodation providers have done ok, but it is a lot harder work as we have more short stays.

“This year has been challenging. The business is there, but with shorter stays you are having to change your rooms more often, even daily, which adds to your costs.”

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Meanwhile tourism chiefs are already looking ahead to next season, with the 2024 Blackpool Destination Guide due to be printed in early December ready for distribution from the start of the New Year when people start planning their next holidays.