Blackpool will provide "fun" alternative to trips abroad if they are not allowed this year, says council chief

Blackpool will aim to capitalise on the possibility of foreign holidays not being permitted this summer by providing people with a safe place to “have some fun” – as and when restrictions allow.

Tuesday, 23rd March 2021, 6:14 am

That was the message from Blackpool Council’s chief executive, who said that the resort had proved it could do tourism in a Covid-secure way when the first lockdown lifted last year.

Neil Jack said that the disruption to the visitor economy as a result of the local restrictions and two further national lockdowns since then had been “traumatic” for many businesses.

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However, he said the roadmap out of lockdown could offer them an opportunity that they badly need.

“They have seen their income absolutely destroyed, particularly during the second period of [local] lockdown around October. For a lot of businesses in Blackpool, October is 20 percent of their revenue.

“Our focus now is on making sure we can support as many of those businesses through to the recovery as possible when things can open up – and that we make the best of that reopening in a safe manner.

“When people can’t travel abroad, we want to make sure we have got a safe, hospitable, attractive environment for them to come to. There is a lot of hope to think about for the next year, as well as the trauma of the last.

“We have been able to prove that we are able to [reopen] in a safe manner through the summer last year – and we will be looking to make sure everybody knows about the safety of the attractions and about [Blackpool] being a wonderful place that people can come to have some fun – because I think we all need a bit of fun now,” Mr. Jack added.

He was speaking to reporters at an event to mark the anniversary of the original lockdown a year ago this week.

Angie Ridgwell, chair of the Lancashire Resilience Forum, which is co-ordinating the county’s ongoing response to the pandemic, said that sectors like tourism and manufacturing had been hit hard by the pandemic – but others had remained “buoyant”.

She said that the county had compiled sector-specific plans to help the Lancashire economy recover, which were being used as evidence to give to the government about the issues faced by the region.

“There is no doubt that the [impact of Covid] will be felt across the country for many years and parts of Lancashire in particular,” Ms. Ridgwell said.