Page last updated at 13:55 GMT, Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Recession boosts Blackpool visits

Talbot Gateway designs
A number of projects are planned to revitalise the resort

The recession has helped swell the number of people visiting Blackpool by an estimated 20%, the council has said.

Figures suggest there will have been 12 million visits to the resort in 2009, a rise of two million from 2008.

Council bosses said this was largely thanks to an upsurge in visitors from the UK shunning European destinations.

In July, tourism body VisitEngland said the number of people staying overnight actually fell in 2008, but the council said its figures recorded day trips.

Recession effects

The council said its projections, based on monthly surveys, showed its most significant increase in visitors for a number of years.

There were about 9.8 million visits to the resort in 2007, compared to about 20 million a year in the 1980s.

The latest figures were released by tourism spokeswoman Councillor Maxine Callow at a business conference at the Tower Ballroom.

"The effects of the recession, the poor exchange rates in Europe and general uncertainty in the economy pointed towards an upsurge in domestic tourism in 2009," she said.

Getting people here was the first part of the challenge
Councillor Maxine Callow

Blackpool Council, using cash from the North West Development Agency (NWDA), launched a high profile television and internet marketing campaign in 2009.

It included promoting events in the resort such as European Beach Volleyball, World Fireworks Championship and its famous illuminations.

Mrs Callow added: "Getting people here was the first part of the challenge. The second part is to ensure that their experience here is the best that it can be.

"That is why there is now so much focus on delivering quality standards across the accommodation sector, but also in our food and drink offer, in our visitor attractions, in customer service and in the facilities the town has to offer."

The town is currently undergoing major redevelopment, including the £220m Talbot Gateway project.

The project is one of a number planned to revitalise Blackpool.

New hotels, shops and restaurants are planned as well as offices, a supermarket and cafes on a site near Blackpool North train station.

The work is set to start in 2011, creating hundreds of jobs.

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