Blackpool hopes for another bumper summer season

And hopes are pinned on a return to business tourism which has fallen victim to the pandemic shutdowns and been badly missed, with its comeback sparked by the new Winter Gardens conference centre.

Claire Smith of hotelier group StayBlackpool was speaking at the group’s recent trade show in the Empress Ballroom, which was attended by hundreds of businesses from the Fylde Coast.

She said: “Last year we had the best summer.

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Businesses attending the StayBlackpool Open Day at the Winter Gardens are hoping for a bumper summer season to make up for a dilapidated winter

“Obviously we weren’t allowed to open properly until May 19, but the number of visitors was fantastic.

“But the best summer was followed by the worst winter.

“A lot less business people were doing events in Blackpool, they had gotten used to doing zoom meetings. Hopefully that business will come back over time.

“Who knows what we’ll get this season, but we’re hopeful.

StayBlackpool’s Claire Smith says business is picking up after years of foreclosure-hit trade

“With the rising cost of living, the cost of traveling abroad, problems with flights, people may choose to stay in the UK. But that’s what Blackpool is good at.

“Lots of free events, two days of red arrows at the air show, and on a nice day you can walk to a beautiful golden beach. There’s plenty to do here for every pocket.”

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First look inside Blackpool’s £28million Winter Gardens Conference and Exhibition Centre…

She added that the conference center will be good for Blackpool in the future.

Stay at the Blackpool Expo at the Winter Gardens. Pictured are Joan Humble and Walter Cairns of the Blackpool Civic Trust.

She said: “It’s not just about conferences, obviously it will bring new business tourism to the city, but it also creates a ripple effect.

“There are lots of new businesses, the new Peter Rabbit attraction, the Hole in Wand, new cafes, the WIFI in the center is amazing, the city looks much better and there has been a lot of movement in the business too, people are for sale, new people are coming.

Viva Blackpool’s Leye D Johns said: “It’s great to see so many Blackpool businesses here gearing up for the season and showing what they have to offer.

“We are celebrating 10 years of Viva in August and we have a fantastic new show for the visitors. We all hope the season will be like last summer, an exceptional season.”

Stay at the Blackpool Expo at the Winter Gardens. Pictured are Andy Percival, Shaun Pickup and John Howell of Blackpool in Bloom.

Visit Fylde Coast’s Jane Littlewood, who has partnered with StayBlackpool to promote its new online booking site, said: “It’s great to be back to normal after the past two years. We are delighted to be busy with the new StayBlackpool booking site and promoting the coast to visitors.

Paul Foster of the Federation of Small Businesses said: “After the past two years, events like this are really important. It shows what support is available for the many and diverse businesses in Blackpool and it’s a chance for people to catch up again.

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