Blackpool – like Paris only not as nice
History & attractions
Based on visitor numbers, Blackpool is still the UK leading coastal resort.
Attractions such as the famous Blackpool Tower, theme park, donkeys on the beach and a sea front promenade. It has its origins in Victorian times and the reasons
for its growth are the same as those mentioned in the Butler model. By the
middle of the nineteenth century the railway had linked Blackpool to Manchester and the other densely populated textile towns of Lancashire. Factory workers poured into Blackpool on Bank Holidays. Later, after the introduction of paid annual holidays, they spent a week there, every year. Many northern families never considered going anywhere else. Blackpool had the natural advantage of a sandy beach, which stretched for miles; by 1900, the tourist infrastructure of promenade, piers, big hotels and the Tower were all in place.
Decline & decay
Growth was more or less continuous until 1960. However, the traditional British seaside resorts have been in decline for 40 years, ever since people discovered guaranteed summer sun and warmth in Mediterranean
countries. Blackpool was badly affected.
Between 1990 to 1999
visitor numbers per year dropped from 17 million to 11 million
1000 hotels ceased trading
300 holiday-flat premises closed
average hotel occupancy rate fell as low as 25%
Blackpool was not exciting existing visitors enough to make them come back the following year, nor was it attracting sufficient new customers. By 2000 some bed-and-breakfast
prices had fallen as low as £10 per night, which left no money for investments in improvements. A downward spiral of decline set in as some parts of town started to look very run-down. This happened despite improvements in road access
after the M55 was completed as the motorway link from the M6.
families frightened off by binge-drinking culture of ‘stag nights’ and ‘hen parties’
beach erosion during winter storms
beach and sea water pollution
unemployment out of season
overcrowding and traffic jams on bank holidays
unreliable summer weather – wet and windy
cheap package holidays to the Mediterranean taking regular visitors away
smarten up areas run-down and which look unpleasant to tourists
pulling down old buildings and landscaping car parks
beaches have been cleaned up and beach facilities improved
in 2006 three of Blackpool’s beaches were given blue flags for clean sea-water
sand extraction has been reduced further up the coast which will reduce the
rate of erosion of the beaches
the ‘Blackpool Illuminations’ which are vital for extending the visitor season into the autumn, are being transformed by a £10 million investment after
years of ‘always being the same’.
Other off-season events, such as conferences and festivals are being promoted
New attractions at the pleasure beach theme park and Nickelodeon land
more covered areas for tourists to protect them from the bad weather
How effective have the strategies been?
The super-casino went to Manchester instead of Blackpool (although the plans were scrapped) and the average occupancy rates in Blackpool holiday accommodation
remain below 25%. Blackpool will have to rely on day trippers and people who stay for a few nights at best. Blackpool’s attractions have not changed and it is
limited by its size. Other coastal resorts such as Scarborough have tried to attract small businesses and change its image but Blackpool is too big for a
small solution and suffers from its image. It is not a wealthy town, and has high rates of unemployment and areas of deprivation.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8123208.stm – a recent article detailing the decline in the number of tourist visiting Blackpool
http://www.gatm.org.uk/geographyatthemovies/tourism.html – this link takes you to the Geography At The Movies website and has great link for tourism videos. Use it to look at the Blackpool video
A video showing the Pepsi Max rollercoaster at the Pleasure Beach This is an advert of Blackpool reinventing itself as attractive as a French resort.