Blackpool’s past and present are inextricably linked with the tourist industry. It continues to retain a unique place in the nation’s imagination and is experiencing growth once again in its visitor economy with renewed interest from a new breed of staycationers. It is the scale, speed and ambition of Blackpool's historic development – together with the constant adaptation to meet the changing desires of demanding audiences – that has consistently served to elevate Blackpool from being a typical coastal resort. Blackpool is a true British icon, the only urban seaside resort with 150 years of heritage, the first working class holiday resort in the world and one with an unshakeable vitality.
Blackpool’s international profile as a centre for entertainment means it continues to be one of Britain’s most visited destinations. There are around 18 million visits annually to enjoy cultural and visitor attractions such as the historic Blackpool Tower and Winter Gardens conference complex, a lively events programme including the Air Show and Fireworks Festival, theatre and art through the Grand Theatre and Grundy Art Gallery, family fun at the Blackpool Illuminations, and heart-pumping action at the Blackpool Pleasure Beach.
Blackpool aims to maintain a buzzing, attractive environment where business is thriving. A 21st century year round leisure destination that appeals to everyone, from visiting conference delegates and high spending tourists staying in the award-winning 5-star hotels, to a younger, hipper crowd in search of a weekend away full of partying, music and fashion festivals, to families enjoying the rejuvenated promenade and attractions, museum and new-look illuminations.
The town has been transformed with extensive covered walkways and an abundance of open, recreational space and all-weather activities. This has attracted new businesses and increased footfall, aided by the Illuminations park and glide scheme. There are innovative family entertainment offerings, new and exciting independent fashion and furnishings shops as well as kids’ activities, a cinema/ music venue and fun food options.
Long awaited private sector interest in all areas of the economy has emerged, with major investments in cinema, sport related leisure, retail theme parks, food and beverage and hotels planned to reach £500m over the next 5 years. Notably Blackpool has enjoyed £46-million of private sector investment since 2011 in new rides, attractions and facilities at Blackpool Pleasure Beach from the UK’s first Nickelodeon Land to the UK’s first double launch rollercoaster, ICON; a new £26m conference centre has been built at the Winter Gardens, expanding its capacity by an additional 2,000 delegates to 7,000; and the Central Leisure Quarter development features a major new high-quality unique leisure offer, providing year-round reasons to visit Blackpool and broadening the resort’s overall appeal.