Celebrating Blackpool’s Shining Stars

It was a real pleasure to attend the Blackpool Tourism Awards last night (February 25th 2010). The glittering event took place at the DeVere Herons Reach and celebrated the very best of the resorts offering for 2009. Hosted by Coronation Street’s Sally Lindsay, the evening was a fantastic occasion to look back at the previous 12 months and celebrate all that is good about the resort.

In 2009 Blackpool hosted the Royal Variety Show, BBC Televisions Strictly Come Dancing, saw new town squares, public realm and lighting installations, held events such as fireworks, volleyball, a phenomenal air show, and dance festivals to name but a few. And what’s more, reported a 20% uplift in visits. Now that is worth celebrating…

The individual list of winners can be found here, but for me, speaking personally, there were a few stand out highlights. Those of particular merit to me were the five star Four Seasons (so delighted for Marcus and Bea), Jali restaurant, Blackpool’s best restaurant according to Trip Advisor too and The Strand Hotel which has recently seen much investment and sets a great modern standard. Well done too, to the Sandcastle Waterpark who just seem to go on winning awards for their continued team efforts and to the zoo for best visitor attraction.

However, the one stand out award for me was for Amanda Thompson who heads up the Pleasure Beach resort. The Special Recognition award was I am sure given to Amanda for her tireless passion for and promotion of the resort, continued investments at the Pleasure Beach, but also for bringing the Royal Variety Performance to the town for the first time in more than 50 years. Well done indeed. Quite rightly, in a pre recorded acceptance speech Amanda encouraged everyone involved in the tourism industry to be ambassadors for the town.

It’s nights like these when you realise that Blackpool has so much quality to offer and how proud everyone is to be involved in the visitor economy. Despite the challenges ahead and further opportunities for regeneration, Blackpool is a resort that continues to progress and with such quality product on offer the future does looks bright.

Well done to everyone who was shortlisted or won an award and well done to Visit Blackpool too, for such a successful evening.

Tim Dixon

Don’t Miss Your Chance!

There has never been a better time to enter the Lancashire and Blackpool Tourism Awards, but hurry you haven’t got much time left!

The deadline for all completed Expressions of Interest Forms is: Monday 8th March 2010.

Compared with the past years the initial stage of entering has been simplified and made less time consuming. In order to be considered for any category you are required to submit an online Expression of Interest form, which involves answering a couple of questions about your business. Then only the shortlisted businesses will be asked for more detailed information where they will offered advice and guidance from a mentor from the Lancashire and Blackpool Tourist Board team. So what are you waiting for?

This time next year you could be following in the successful footsteps of  The Ashton and Blackpool Illuminations, our current champions who went on to win at North West level and are now in the shortlist for an English tourism ‘Oscar’ – we’ve got our fingers crossed.

Click here to enter.

Catherine Redshaw.

Going for Green!

Lancashire and Blackpool Tourist Board are embarking to attaining Green Tourism Business Scheme (GTBS) status, following in the footsteps of a great many Lancashire businesses that already hold the award.  Whilst we wait for our advisory visit (this will highlight our green action plan) a ‘select’ group of LBTB staff met with Hetty to discuss the GTBS Criteria check list.

Although we still have to make some fairly significant changes in terms of waste management, energy and purchasing, all the marketing LBTB does via visitlancashire.com and print (on 100% recycled or FSC certified paper) to promote sustainable tourism and activities such walking and cycling
 has put us in good stead and we should score highly in this area. Furthermore, the fact that LBTB supports sustainable tourism networks and past projects such as the Lancashire Rural Tourism Initiative (LRTi) through funding and training also gives us some good marks.

I am however keen to make some changes to our day-to-day office practises that will make us more sustainable and environmentally aware. Currently we only recycle paper and cardboard so there is certainly capacity to increase this to plastics and glass.  I would also like to see a change to some of our purchasing policies improved to encompass fair trade tea and coffee, re-cycled paper for printers/paper towels  and eco friendly cleaning products and hand wash. Since majority of people action these simply things domestically I hope we can action them for LBTB over the coming months as we work towards our GTBS award.

Sally Jastrzebski-Lloyd

The GTBS is the leading sustainable tourism certification scheme in the UK. Businesses opting to join are assessed by a qualified grading advisor against a rigorous set of criteria, covering a range of areas, like energy and water efficiency, waste management, biodiversity and more. Click here for further details.

A right good read

Our new Visitor Guide for 2010 has been recently published and has gone down a storm! 60 pages of beautifully styled and stylishly written Lancashire information has seen a flurry of praise for this magazine/brochure.

The guide has been carefully crafted to reflect the new Visit Lancashire branding and to showcase the very best that Lancashire has to offer. It has emotive and inspirational copy, with real-life stories and a wealth of practical information. I know I’m biased but I can’t believe anyone can resist a trip to our beautiful area after picking up one of these.

We knew that Kate had surpassed all expectations and produced a hit when all our parents reported sitting down and reading it cover to cover. Personally, my husband now seems to have planned our weekends for the rest of the year, visiting every attraction mentioned!

As a tourism business in Lancashire – all accredited accommodations, Taste Lancashire restaurants and all attractions – appearing in the guide was as simple as agreeing to an advert, getting a free listing as a member of LBTB, or being a previous winner of our Tourism Awards.

It is so different to anything we’ve done before it seems that everyone wants to be in it in retrospect! Make sure you don’t miss out on the 2011 Guide which will be even bigger and better than this one (if that’s possible). As with this guide, you will recieve a letter and we send numerous e-mails about advertising opportunities. Also – watch this blog!

If you want to pre-register your interest for next time and you don’t want to miss out then by all means contact Kate now kroberts@lbtbltd.com

To get editorial free you need to ‘win it to be in it’. Enter our Tourism Awards 2010 right now.

Thanks go to the following for advertising in the Visitor Guide 2010:
Pleasure Beach Resort, Industrial Powerhouse Northwest, Lancashire Museums, Sandcastle Waterpark, Barton Grange Garden Centre, Mitton Hall, Camelot, Farmer Ted’s, WWT Martin Mere, Farmer Parr’s Animal World, RSPB Leighton Moss, Northcote/Ribble Valley Inns, Toast, Chapel Gallery, Samlesbury Hall, Top Hat Tours, Towneley Hall, The Hands On Gang, Harris Museum and Art Gallery, NT Rufford Old Hall, Garstang Country Hotel, Brooklands Retreat, Lancaster House Hotel, Bayley Arms, Gibbon Bridge Hotel, Highcliffe Holiday Apartments, Marina Cafe, Penny Street Bridge, The Cartford Inn, Millstone at Mellor, Shireburn, Waddington Arms, Berwyn, The Carment Rose, Dalmeny Hotel, Clogh Bottom Farm Cottages and Stanley House, Browsholme Hall, British in India Museum, Carlton Hotel, Capernwray House, Little Orchard, Mytton Fold, Redwings, Riverside, The Lodge.

sarah lundy

Save the date!

Have you booked your exhibition space at our showcase event ‘The Venue Show’ yet?

I wouldn’t like to see you miss out on this major opportunity to meet conference and meeting buyers. Especially if you are a venue with a difference. We have amazing businesses (that’s you) in fantastic settings that can accommodate a whole array of delegates from across the North. Lets book in some conferences and create some happy delegates in Lancashire!

Following on from the success of the 2008 show the 2010 show is on Thursday 25th March 2010 and  it’s going to be bigger and better than ever before!

Join us at Park Hall Hotel, Leisure & Conference Centre. On the day there will be a variety of entertainment, catering, free prize draws and giveaways for attendees.

You can only exhibit if you join our conference initiative. Compared to other shows your exhibition space here is great value for money. Only £450 for your space and a free listing on the website for the year! Also you will then be included in our conference venue finding service  for 12 months (hurrah – more business!).

We’re also launching a new Conference website in April which you can feature in.

ring Catherine Redshaw now on 01257 226615 to book your place.

sarah lundy

What a Great Day Out

Saturday was the annual Great Days Out Exhibition at Bolton Arena. Guaranteed to be a freezing cold day (some years have nearly been snowed off), we set off to our stand with many layers of clothing on.

After finishing setting up and having a brew with our stand partners – Farmer Ted’s and Lancaster Canal Boats – we were ready for the visitors. As the doors opened at 10am the queue that had already formed came in. As a veteran of many Group Travel exhibitions you learn to recognise the serious visitor. Take note: anyone with a trolley bag is a serious Group Travel Organiser and is not a freebie hunter.

Lancashire had a fabulous presence this year with many stands from attractions and districts alike. It was a busy show and everyone was loving our new ‘coffee table’ Visitor Guide. There’s so much to talk about to people about group travel in Lancashire that we are never at a loss – no matter what the organisers special interests are.

It all slowed down to a near stop by 3pm (about the time our feet start to throb). I took this opportunity to purchase a few items from the Fitzpatrick’s stand and talk to some of the other Lancashire stands. It seems a ‘great day out’ was had by all.

If you are interested in attracting some or more group travel visitors to your business you should vertainly consider attending these shows with us as stand partners; or at least sending your leaflets for us to give out. Just call Kate on 01257 226618 to see what opportunities are coming up soon.

sarah lundy

A (quality) picture paints a thousand words

Sometimes it seems like the hardest thing to do in the world is to get quality photography. You have your great business. And you know a picture paints a thousand words. So why would you not have THE BEST photography you can get?

Tom Kitchin at NorthcoteUsually the answer to this is cost. It’s not easy to source top quality photography at an affordable cost. And often you try to do the job yourself and end up with a photo of the outside of your business looking like a run-down 60’s newsagent on a dark and stormy night.

So what could be the answer? The new LBTB professional photography package. Aspirational high quality photographs of your business for you to keep and use time and time again. Only £250 plus VAT!

Now – wait for it……
We’ve been able to secure 20 of these packages for only £50!
This is unfortunately only open to members – the first 20 that want the package.
We expect this special members offer to sell out very quickly so register your interest NOW or alternatively email: membership@lbtbltd.com

Just to whet your appetite – this is a recent shot taken by the photographer we have commissioned for the work (not just a random shot of Tom Kitchen).

happy snapping, sarah lundy