Blackpool bids to win back lucrative political conference business


A delegation from Blackpool has pressed its case to host future political conferences at the North West resort.

VisitBlackpool joined forces with the town’s famous Winter Gardens complex to promote its vastly-improved business tourism offer at the Conservative Party’s annual conference currently taking place in Manchester.

The message to the thousands of delegates attending the four-day gathering was simple: “Come and take a fresh look at the transformational change that is being delivered here”.

The resort was once the destination of choice for both Conservative and Labour annual Autumn conferences, but fell out of favour around a decade ago.

The Blackpool presence at this year’s conference is promoting the resort under its new “MeetBlackpool” branding.

It draws the delegates’ attention to the hundreds of millions of pounds-worth of investment that has been made since they last staged their annual convention there including:

  • A completely remodelled promenade with European-style trams running along the seafront
  • Electrification of the Blackpool to Preston rail line, providing direct rail services to London and other major cities
  • A tramway extension from North Pier to Blackpool North railway station, which will provide a seamless transport link for rail passengers
  • A new £28m Conference & Exhibition Centre being built alongside the Winter Gardens, providing state-of-the-art facilities for conference delegates when it opens next year
  • The construction of several “next generation” hotels including the resort’s first five-star hotel which will open close to The Blackpool Tower in 2020 and the luxurious new Boulevard Hotel which opened a few weeks ago

Mandy Tythe-McCallum, tourism services manager for VisitBlackpool, said: “Blackpool has benefited from huge investment since the Conservatives last staged their annual conference here.

“Our message to the delegates in Manchester is to come and take a fresh look and see for themselves how investment in new conference facilities will change the face of conferencing in Blackpool.

“We are able to offer conference and exhibition organisers a totally unique venue that will combine state-of-the-art facilities in the new building with the grandeur and history of the original Winter Gardens.”

Since it announced the construction of the new conference centre, the resort has secured the return of the GMB union in 2020 and the Inner Wheel in 2021. The shopworkers’ union, Usdaw, has also confirmed it will return to Blackpool every year until at least 2024.