Blackpool Council reveals £1m support package to kick-start town’s tourism

Blackpool Council has unveiled a £1m package to kick-start the town’s tourism economy which includes the creation of a Tourism Business Improvement District.

The council has revealed an investment plan to help the resort recover from the ‘near-catastrophic ‘effects of the pandemic as pubs, restaurants, hairdressers, shops and gyms reopen today as England moves into step two of the lockdown roadmap.

The council has already declared that the traditional Illuminations season will be extended by two months until January 3, 2022, to enable businesses to recoup some of the losses they have incurred this year with the national lockdown wiping out the lucrative Easter period.

Now it has announced a package of support measures that will see:

  • Large-scale investment in a programme of destination marketing and new events over the remaining months of this year, including a ‘greatly-enhanced package’ of Christmas entertainment and attractions to complement the extension to the Illuminations season
  • Development of a new TV-led marketing campaign for 2022 when Blackpool should be able to stage its first full year of tourism activity since 2019
  • The planned creation of a Tourism Business Improvement District (TBID), led by key stakeholders in the tourism industry and giving the potential for a further £1m of funding for marketing and events over the next five years

Cllr Gillian Campbell, Cabinet Member for Tourism & Culture for Blackpool Council, said: “The last 12 months of lockdowns and tier restrictions have had a devastating impact on our tourism and hospitality industry.

“We know that there are still some difficult months ahead and that it is going to take time for businesses to recover from the significant losses they have incurred.

“As we have already seen with the cancellation of the Air Show a few days ago, there is the potential for further disruption to our traditional events programme, so it is essential that we focus on creating new and compelling reasons to visit as well as showcasing our myriad of family attractions and accommodation.

“We are committed to doing everything we can to accelerate the recovery process by investing in marketing and events that will encourage people to holiday here, not just in 2021, but in future years too. We are now working closely with destination partners to develop those plans by utilising funds that are designated for business support and reopening the economy.

“By extending the Illuminations season to four months and complementing that with a much-enhanced Christmas offer, we are confident that businesses will enjoy a strong finish to the year.”

The proposed TBID, which will be launched later this month, will be a partnership between tourism businesses, Blackpool Council, VisitBlackpool and Business In The Community, will complement the existing Town Centre BID which has delivered outstanding benefits for the town centre economy for more than a decade.

Subject to a successful ballot, it is planned to have it in place by July 1. It will then play a crucial role in supporting and co-funding tourism recovery plans over the next five years.

Kate Shane, Head of the Blackpool Cluster for the Merlin Entertainments Group, and TBID Project Lead, said: “Over the past year, we have experienced an unprecedented public health crisis that has heavily impacted the tourism and hospitality industry.

“The priority is to rebuild visitor confidence and work together to ensure that Blackpool has the best possible chance of thriving in a post-COVID economy.”

The latest milestone on the Government’s roadmap sees some of Blackpool’s major outdoor attractions including Blackpool Pleasure Beach and Blackpool Zoo open up from today (April 12), along with self-catering accommodation, non-essential retail and outdoor hospitality

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