Page last updated at 10:18 GMT, Sunday, 23 May 2010 11:18 UK

Blackpool's Premier League promotion boosts resort

Blackpool fans at Wembley
Fans celebrated long and hard after the 3-2 victory

Blackpool Football Club's elevation to the Premier League is worth "tens of millions" of pounds to the resort, officials believe.

Some of football's biggest names will visit the town next season after the Seasiders' 3-2 victory over Cardiff.

It will be the Seasiders' first season in the top flight since 1971 and is said to be worth £90m to the club.

But the benefits to the resort itself are "unthinkable", said Helen France, Blackpool Council's tourism chief.

Despite having one of the lowest average attendances in the Championship, Blackpool took more than 35,000 fans to Wembley for the play-off final.

There's a lot of regeneration going on and the opportunity for the club to bring in all those away supporters, I think will just buoy up the town
Phil Trow, fanzine editor

Among them was Phil Trow, editor of fanzine Another View From The Tower, who said the likely effect on the town was difficult to put into words.

"Blackpool has been one of these downtrodden towns for many years now... but it's going through a lot of revival," he told BBC Radio 5 live.

"There's a lot of regeneration going on and the opportunity for the club to bring in all those away supporters, I think will just buoy up the town.

"Everyone you spoke to yesterday was very much thinking about that."

Tourism and regeneration chiefs are already planning how to capitalise on the promotion and new found profile that Premier League football will bring.

Ian Holloway describes the effect of promotion on the resort

Mrs France, the council's executive director of tourism, said: "We're so excited about this - it's unthinkable the benefits this could bring to Blackpool.

"We think at the minimum at least tens of millions [of pounds].

"We're really hopeful we get much more visitors, much more overnight stays but also [boost] the profile and the reputation of the town that comes with it - it's enormous for us."

The significance of the victory was not lost on the man at the centre of Saturday's celebrations, Seasiders' boss Ian Holloway, who said promotion would change lives in the area.

"When that whistle blew I just knew the enormity of what it means to everybody on the Fylde coast," he said.

"If people don't understand, we're right on the end of the M55 and you have to go through everywhere else to get to us.

Club parade

"The only reason you're going to come there is to have a holiday and I want everyone to come there from the Premier League and have a holiday, for all the businesses up and down the front and for everybody in the town."

Supporters will get their chance to thank Holloway and his players on Monday when the team embarks on an open-top tour of the resort.

The hour-long trip, which will set off from Gynn Square at 1600 BST, will be followed by a promenade celebration at Waterloo Headland.

Some 20,000 people are expected to attend and fans have been urged to secure their place early.

Full details of the route are available from Blackpool Council.



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