Hopes of forging stronger links between Blackpool and China are back on the table thanks to a visit to the resort tomorrow by the Chinese consul for the North West of England.
General Li Yongsheng is due to visit Blackpool Tower and the Illuminations depot as part of his tour of the resort.
He will also meet with members of the Blackpool Chinese Community Association and senior council officers.
Consul General Li was appointed to the role of consul in October for a four year term and is based in Manchester.
Civic leaders want to formally twin Blackpool with the Chinese resort of Sanya.
Peter Liu, chief executive of the Blackpool Chinese Community Association which has organised the visit, said: “He will be meeting our members and we have organised an itinerary for him which includes a visit to the Illuminations depot and to the Tower.
He will be meeting our members and we have organised an itinerary for him which includes a visit to the Illuminations depot and to the Tower
“We will be speaking to him about our plans to twin with Sanya.
“These proposals are very much still on the table and we are very keen to forge ahead with them.”
Last year 10 members of the Blackpool Chinese Community Association visited Sanya which is considered to be China’s version of Hawaii and has a population of 658,408.
Sanya is said to be interested in Blackpool because of its tourism heritage and its fame as the ballroom capital of the world.
The consul’s itinerary also includes a visit to the Federation of Small Business offices on Blackpool Business Park, where he is due to meet Blackpool Mayor Coun Val Haynes, and a meeting with council officials.
Carmel McKeogh, Blackpool Council’s deputy chief executive, said: “We are keen to continue to develop our links with China and to explore the possible benefits the relationship could bring to Blackpool.
“The Manchester Chinese Consulate General will be visiting the Illuminations Depot and Blackpool Tower during his trip and will also be meeting the leader, chief executive and mayor.”
Blackpool has recently also strengthened its links with China thanks to the success of Illuminasia, the indoor lighting attraction inside the Winter Gardens, which was created by a team of Chinese artisans.