Blackpool will welcome hundreds of hoteliers and attraction operators when it hosts the country’s top national awards next month.
The VisitEngland Awards for Excellence 2016 will see nominees competing in 16 categories descend on the Winter Gardens on Tuesday March 8.
The only Fylde coast nominee is the Cartford Inn at Little Eccleston which is vying for honours in the category for best Tourism Pub.
Blackpool hopes to use the event to showcase its own tourism gems.
Coun Gillian Campbell said: “We’re absolutely delighted to be hosting this year’s VisitEngland awards.
“Not only does it bring more business tourists in to the resort, who will spend money in our local hotels and restaurants, but it also gives us a great platform to showcase the many things that Blackpool has to offer.
“For the last few years we’ve been banging the drum to tell people Blackpool is back, and this is a great chance to show the huge amount of regeneration that’s taken place to some of the country’s top tourism leaders.”
President of hoteliers group StayBlackpool Claire Smith won best B&B for her property Number One St Luke’s at the awards in 2009.
She said: “These awards are very prestigious.
“The people who are attending are at the top of their game within the hospitality industry so to be able to showcase the Winter Gardens and what Blackpool has to offer is fabulous.
“This is a real opportunity for the town. When we won our award in 2009, it increased turnover for us in that year by £25,000.”
Prizes will be handed out in categories ranging from Access for All to Visitor Information Provider of the Year and 2016’s debut Dog Friendly Business of the Year Award.
Nominees include Hampton Court Palace, the Roman Baths at Bath and Salisbury Cathedral.
Sally Balcombe, CEO of VisitBritain and VisitEngland said “We are very excited to be bringing the 2016 Awards for Excellence to Blackpool’s wonderful Winter Gardens.
“The awards finalists exemplify outstanding tourism talent and distinguished businesses throughout England.”
Finalists receive either a gold, silver, bronze or highly commended award.