Page last updated at 09:31 GMT, Thursday, 10 July 2008 10:31 UK

Blackpool needs 'posher' tourists

Blackpool
The resort lost out in its bid for a super-casino last year

Blackpool needs to attract a better class of holidaymaker, according to a government report into regeneration of the resort.

Liz Meek, regional director of the Government Office North West, makes the recommendation to "diversify" tourism.

The report looks at ways of improving the town after its failed casino bid.

Ms Meek said Blackpool needed to attract "more visitors from social classes A and B", usually classed as upper middle class and middle class.

She also recommended extending the length of the holiday season, strengthening the housing market, reducing unemployment and boosting transport.

Moving some government departments to Blackpool is also being considered.

Ms Meek's report was commissioned by Communities Secretary Hazel Blears to measure progress against the recommendations of the Blackpool Task Force published last year.

Blackpool has a special place in the nation's hearts
Liz Meek
Government Office North West

It found that 23% of residents in the resort were claiming work-related benefits, but that "robust" proposals were being developed to reduce this.

Ms Meek said: "Blackpool has a special place in the nation's hearts. We want the town to keep that hold on our affection while equipping it for its future as a 21st Century resort.

"While it is clear that while Blackpool faces many challenges the foundations for a successful future are being laid.

"Tourism, housing, economic development and transport work is being taken forward with urgency.

"A strong and experienced team is now in place at ReBlackpool, the town's regeneration agency.

"The regional agencies and central government are working together to deliver real change for the people of Blackpool."

The resort lost out on a bid for a "super-casino" last year.

ReBlackpool was set up to deliver the town's "master plan" to bring about social and economic improvements.

The chief executive of Manchester City Council Sir Howard Bernstein was recently appointed in a part-time post as chairman of ReBlackpool.


SEE ALSO
Regeneration expert helps resort
07 Jul 08 |  Lancashire
Resort to get 4m 'cultural cash'
04 Apr 08 |  Lancashire
Resort's 300m for regeneration
26 Feb 08 |  Lancashire
New plans to regenerate Blackpool
06 Aug 07 |  Lancashire

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