Blackpool illuminations to be extended by a week

Blackpool is celebrating another year of increased visitor figures with the news that this year’s illuminations have been extended by an extra week.

Blackpool illuminationsThe illuminations normally shine bright for nine weeks but this year they will stay on for an additional week until Sunday November 10 in a partnership agreement between Blackpool Council and Merlin Entertainments.

Merlin, which operates the Tower, Madame Tussauds, Sealife Centre and Golden Isle Adventure Golf in Blackpool, is funding the extra week to extend Blackpool’s season even further for the benefit of local businesses.

The 2012 visitor figures revealed that the illuminations display was the single most important reason for visiting Blackpool during the autumn period spanning September to December.

Some 28 per cent of the 3.7m adult visitors who visited the resort during that period named the lights as the primary reason for coming.

The latest independent research carried out by Omnibus shows the total number of adult visits to Blackpool during 2012 was 10,390,000 - 300,000 higher than 2011.

When a ‘child factor’ is applied to the figures, it takes the total number of visits to Blackpool to well over 13 million, bucking the downward trend suffered by many UK destinations.

Coun Graham Cain, cabinet member for tourism and culture, said: “The positive response we’ve had shows how proud people are of the illuminations and the visitor figures back up how important they are to the local economy as a key reason for bringing people to town.

“I’m delighted that Merlin Entertainments has identified the huge benefit that the Illuminations brings businesses in the town by supporting this week extension. Iain Hawkins, head of Merlin Entertainments Blackpool, said: “The illuminations are a massive driver of visitors to the resort and extending their run can only be a good thing. Not only will it help businesses by extending the season but it will also give visitors even more opportunities to visit to see the fantastic lights.”