Resort's visitor economy booms as Enterprise Zone takes off
As news emerged that the Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone had created its 1,000th job, the seaside resort's tourism board announced that the visitor economy is now worth an all-time high £1.5bn.
Blackpool's enterprise zone was launched in April 2016 and has since attracted 55 companies to the site.
The initial 23-year plan was to create or secure 5,000 jobs and generate £300m of inward investment. Reaching its first 1,000 jobs is a major early milestone.
Simon Blackburn, leader of Blackpool Council, said: "The jobs created are across a wide variety of the identified target sectors including advanced manufacturing and engineering, digital and creative, aviation and energy.
"And although this is an excellent start, we have a long way to go and a lot more hard work to do to reach the site’s full potential.”
Meanwhile, the number of tourists visiting Blackpool has risen from 17m per year in 2015 to 18m over the last 12 months. This has grown the visitor economy to an annual £1.5bn.
This plan represents investment on a scale that has not been seen for decades.
The figures were revealed as part of the launch of Destination Blackpool's second edition, a new masterplan which outlines the resort's plans for the next three years, including attracting another 500,000 annual visitors.
Blackpool's increase in tourism comes before many of its latest investments come to fruition, including major upgrades to Winter Gardens, the addition of a string of high quality hotels, a new major theme park, upgrades to infrastructure and the opening of a Blackpool-themed museum.
Alan Cavill, Blackpool Council’s director of communications and regeneration, said: “Blackpool’s future success lies in the continual reinvention of the tourism offer – we cannot afford to stand still.
"The proposed programme of work that will be undertaken within the lifespan of this plan represents investment on a scale that has not been seen for decades."