Blackpool leads the way as Lancashire visitor economy grows by over £1bn

By Tim Aldred

14 Dec 2023

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The number of people visiting and staying in Lancashire rose significantly in 2022, with the economic impact increasing by more than £1.2bn.

The latest Scarborough Tourism Economic Activity Monitor (STEAM) shows that visitor numbers for the county as a whole grew from 51.5m in 2021 to 64.8m in 2022 and the economic impact generated in 2022 increased to £4.8bn from £3.5bn in 2021

This puts the numbers at almost 95 per cent of pre-pandemic levels.

Blackpool received more than 20 million visitors in 2022, up 1.5 million on the previous year and 12 per cent higher than the pre-pandemic year of 2019.

This values the resort’s tourism economy at more than £1.7bn compared to £1.4bn in 2021, supporting in excess of 22,000 jobs.

The gains made in Blackpool during 2022 were fuelled by the return of large-scale events such as the Air Show Weekend, another two-month extension of the autumn Illuminations season and an expansion of the successful Christmas By The Sea village.

There was also a £1m investment in a multi-media marketing campaign featuring a new TV ad starring “resort ambassador”, Nigel C Gull, a lovable seagull puppet voiced by actor and comedian Johnny Vegas.

Coun Lynn Williams, leader of Blackpool Council, said: “We clearly had an advantage in 2021 because people in the UK were largely restricted to domestic holidays and we were determined to capitalise on that opportunity.

“It is extremely encouraging that we have not just retained the numbers that we attracted in that initial bounce-back year, but shown incremental growth in 2022.

“That is on the back of some brilliant partnership working across the resort which has seen the launch of new events, more impactful marketing and an extension of the tourism season into November and December.”

This year to date, Blackpool has seen record numbers attending its free events programme, including the two-day Air Show, three world fireworks events, the award-winning Lightpool Festival, and the Illuminations Switch-On.

Vikki Harris, marketing and partnerships director, Marketing Lancashire, said: “The recently announced Lancashire LVEP, a partnership between Marketing Lancashire and Visit Blackpool, is exciting for the region and is supported by all the county’s 15 councils.

“This programme will deliver local and national structure to continue to grow the local visitor economy. It's great to see Lancashire making a strong recovery, but we remain very aware of high energy costs, increased staffing expenses, and the continuing cost of living for local businesses and their staff.”

Enjoyed this? Read more from Tim Aldred

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