As the extended Blackpool illuminations draw crowds to the Fylde coast, the dedication of leisure and hospitality operators is paving the way for an unseasonal seaside renaissance.
The Blackpool Illuminations are proving as popular a draw for tourists as ever, with the iconic seafront display helping the Lancashire town build on a strong summer season and a renewed interest in the British seaside.
With the resort enjoying “a new lease of life” through a rise in domestic tourism, the extended light show could pave the way for local firms’ long-term recovery from the pandemic, with leisure and hospitality at the forefront of the family experience.
“Children clutching glow sticks shrieked with delight and onlookers gazed awestruck as Blackpool’s Illuminations light festival launched to a spectacular volley of fireworks from its 158-metre Victorian tower,” reported the AFP.
“The northwest English town’s light display crowns an extended tourist season as Britain’s traditional seaside resorts benefit from a domestic tourism boom during the coronavirus pandemic.”
Though prior to the pandemic the call was for seaside towns to focus on diversifying their industries in order to curb a reliance on seasonal tourism, the change in habits could see holidaymakers reconsider the coast as a year-round destination.
With the pandemic encouraging many to revisit the seaside for the first time since childhood holidays, and others to pay a visit for the first time ever, the reputation traditional resorts like Blackpool earn this year could prove crucial to future success.
Commenting on the recent tourism figures, council leader Lynn Williams stated Blackpool “has changed from when people came as a child and how it’s portrayed.”
“But we won’t change in that we are a welcoming seaside resort.”
That welcoming attitude, combined with an impressive programme of events and displays, may well be the deciding factor for many holidaymakers when choosing where to visit in future.
Administrator Michelle Potter, who this year spurned a holiday in her regular favourite of Spain in order to visit Blackpool, blamed the “hassle of going abroad and having to stick to restrictions” as the reason behind her choice, telling reporters during her visit that “the UK is just as good.”