Blackpool has announced that for the first time it will attend the Confex International trade expo (Olympia, London February 26-27) with a range of partners drawn from across the resort.
The partnership is being led by the iconic Blackpool Winter Gardens complex which is currently constructing a new Growth Deal-funded £28m Conference & Exhibition Centre immediately adjacent to the Winter Gardens’ existing network of 11 conference rooms, theatres, exhibition areas and meeting spaces.
Blackpool’s delegation also includes the 278-room Grand Hotel (formally the Blackpool Hilton), which itself features 11 separate function rooms for both corporate and leisure use.
Another partner attending Confex will be Blackpool Promotions. The company, which has provided accommodation and short breaks to Blackpool for over 35 years, runs five hotels across the resort and accommodates 60,000 guests every year. Their portfolio includes the Royal Ruskin Hotel, which is close to the Winter Gardens complex, which has a capacity of 200 for corporate events.
Representatives from the Blackpool Business Improvement District (BID) will also be present. Blackpool BID is a working consortium of over 500 leading retailers and businesses who are investing together to enhance the town centre. Its focus is to support Blackpool’s growth by bringing together private and public sector partners to make the resort’s town centre the most vibrant and attractive place it can be.
Blackpool’s Confex partnership will also be highlighting to delegates the £300m investment programme which is set to further transform the resort, including several new hotel developments.
Budget chain easyHotel recently announced plans to open a £7.6m, 103-room property on the resort’s South Promenade, while in the town centre, work has started on a new 150-room Premier Inn.
Other new venues planned include the 120-room Boulevard Hotel at Blackpool Pleasure Beach, a 120-room Holiday Inn close to Blackpool North Station, and a 200-room development to be built adjacent to the Winter Gardens Conference & Exhibition Centre itself.
Julie Vincent from the Winter Gardens’ new conference and exhibition centre said:
“Last year Blackpool came to Confex with a very clear message about how the resort offered event managers and conference organisers a seamless, connected approach to finding and booking venues, transport and accommodation.
“By bringing local partners together, including hotels which could be seen as commercial rivals, together with the town’s BID and travel operators like Blackpool Promotions, we are demonstrating that our connectivity approach remains at the heart of Blackpool’s offer and continues to set us apart as a business tourism destination.”
Visit Blackpool’s Business Tourism Manager, Mandy Tythe-McCallum, said:
“With the new conference and exhibition centre being constructed, and the ongoing multi-million-pound investment currently transforming the resort’s transport links, public realm and other key visitor infrastructure, you can see that Blackpool really is booming.
“That’s the message which our delegation is taking to Confex this year, and I’m confident that the combination of the famous Blackpool brand, together with the resort’s wider renaissance as a quality business tourism destination, will be very warmly received by the conference, exhibition and events industry.”
Blackpool’s resurgence within the corporate travel market was highlighted last year in research from the Advantage Travel Partnership (ATP).
The ATP, the UK’s largest independent travel agent consortium, revealed that in 2017 Blackpool enjoyed the biggest growth in UK overnight business travel with 55% more room nights when compared to 2016’s figures.
The Blackpool partnership will be exhibiting on stand M27C at Confex International.