Blackpool is poised to reap the rewards of a £100m investment as the resort looks towards a busy 2019 tourism season.
The return of the Livewire Festival, which brought global superstar Will Smith to town in 2017, was among the exclusive announcements at the launch of this year’s summer programme at Blackpool Pleasure Beach.
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And tourism chiefs have vowed Blackpool “will not stand still” as they aim to ensure the resort stays “ahead of the game”.
It was also revealed the Breitling Jet Team – Europe’s largest civilian aerobatic display team – will take to the skies for this year’s Blackpool Air Show on August 10 and 11.
Pleasure Beach managing director Amanda Thompson said an exciting ever growing list of events would secure Blackpool as a “unique resort” where families could create “lasting memories”.
Echoing the sentiments, head of tourism and communications at Blackpool Council Philip Welsh said the new season was an opportunity to capitalise on a £100m investment in attractions and infrastructure to help encourage more day-trippers to stay in the resort.
He said: “The benefits we’re reaping on the back of that investment are clear to see.
“Blackpool remains the UK’s most visited seaside destination with 18 million visitors per year.
“But we can’t afford to stand still - the visitor offer needs to constantly evolve to make sure Blackpool remains ahead of the game.
“This year we seek to build on the ongoing investment by utilising Blackpool’s rich heritage and its reputation for building world class entertainment to provide new and more compelling reasons for people to come to Blackpool and more importantly stay.”
Ms Thompson added: “We need everyone, everything working together to ensure we deliver on the expectations and exciting experiences visitors want from us.
“That is what we have done year on year to allow families to have a great experience and take home special memories.
“It’s about creating something different, something out the box and we have been achieving that right across the resort for a very long time.
“So this year is about driving and striving for more and saying to people just come and see for yourselves what Blackpool has to offer.”
This year will also see special celebrations with the 125th birthday of the Blackpool Tower and The Grand Theatre and Mr Welsh said the milestones would provide unique opportunities for residents and national and international visitors alike, with a year-long programme of celebration events.
Plans include giving every school child in Blackpool a chance to make the trip to the top of the Tower and lifetime passes for any local babies born on the official birthday, May 14.
Further investment will see the opening of the new four star 120-room Boulevard Hotel at the Pleasure Beach in thee spring, the latest in a series of “next generation” hotels to be built in the resort.
And a packed entertainments schedule includes:
Jason Manford’s Comedy Festival at Winter Gardens
The inaugural British Country Music Festival, headlined by Ward Thomas
Blackpool Grand Productions to present Around The World in 80s Days - a brand-new musical based on JulesVerne’s acclaimed novel
The return of Nickleodeon’s popular Slime Fest over the October half-term
Theatre shows such as Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap, Kinky Boots, Motown The Musical, Little Miss Sunshine and Calendar Girls
The Livewire Festival, which was cancelled last summer due to ill health after a spectacular inaugural year in 2017, returns to the Comedy Carpet for a four-day event over the August bank holiday weekend.
A packed 20,000-capacity crowd turned up to see headliner Will Smith and DJ Jazzy Jeff in the resort in 2017.
Headliners for this year are yet to be announced.