Blackpool claims increase in visitors and spending at events

Michael Hunt

There has been a rise in visitor numbers and spending linked to events within Blackpool town centre, according to latest research.

The figures, which have been prepared for visitBlackpool and Lancashire and Blackpool Tourist Board, look at the impact of summer events staged in the town including Beach Volleyball, out2dance and Kiteival.

The research has revealed:

  • Visitor numbers at Beach Volleyball were shown to have increased from 951 in 2007 to more than 30,000 this year. The series of events are believed to have generated 69,654 overnight stays and spend of £12.5m.
  • Visitor numbers at the United Dance Organisation World Championships showed an increase from 3,161 three years ago to 11,800 this year. Research said the event generated 26,550 overnight stays and spend of £7.35m.
  • Around 40,000 people attended out2dance, generating 35,278 overnight stays and spend of £7.94m.
  • Around 10,000 people attended Kiteival in 2009, which research said generated 16,273 overnight stays and spend of £3.06m.

As a whole, the research carried out claims 232,912 visitors were attracted to Blackpool's 2009 events with 283,474 overnight stays being recorded and spend of more than £51m.

This boost in both visitor numbers and spend has been accompanied by a £500,000 marketing campaign organised by the North West Development Agency, visitBlackpool, Lancashire and Blackpool Tourist Board and ReBlackpool, to promote the town's events programme. The campaign has seen co-ordinated investment into advertising, public relations and website design.

Natalie Wyatt, head of visitBlackpool, said: "We have a fantastic programme of events in place which attract a lot of people from outside the area and it's great news that they are drawing in bigger crowds than ever before and increased levels of spending.

"But, we cannot take this growth for granted, it has come about due to the hard work of the many people working behind the scenes to develop and organise the events – and we are all constantly looking at how we can improve and deliver bigger and better events year on year.

"Showzam – Blackpool's unique festival of circus, magic and new variety, which takes place in February, is an excellent example. It terms of visitor numbers it more than doubled in size between 2007 and 2008 and we are confident next year's attendance figures will show another big rise.

The research also asked visitors whether they had seen any improvement since their last visit. The response showed 82% of people at Kiteival noticing an improvement, 77% at the Beach Volleyball and 57% at the UDO World Championships.

Additional research has also identified a projected 20% growth in visitor numbers this year, which equates to an estimated 12 million this year as compared to an estimated 10 million in 2008.

The report also showed 70% of the people who responded had seen Blackpool mentioned in the media in the previous four months, 23% of those people who responded took an overnight trip to Blackpool in 2009 and a third enjoyed a day trip to the resort.

The research also looked at visitor spend which revealed average spend per party was £623.71 of which £302.37 was on accommodation. For day trips average spend was £97.79 per party or £24.69 per person.

Additional independent research has shown the marketing campaign, which was seen by more than 11 million people, has directly attracted an estimated visitor spend to Blackpool of more than £17m.

Doug Garrett, chief executive of ReBlackpool, said: "The numbers we are seeing are very positive, but we all recognise there is more we can do to attract even more people and more spend to the town next year.

"In terms of regeneration, work on the seafront and Tower festival headland will be substantially complete and these will provide fine focal points of interest for visitors as they stroll along the prom and a reason for people stop longer in the resort."

The report was carried out with the use Omnibus Research, which summarises key results and presents visitor estimates derived from a Random Omnibus Survey of the Great Britain adult population.

Online research was conducted with those contacts with an email address on Lancashire and Blackpool Tourist Board's database.

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