Attention All Hotels!

From the makers of Channel 4’s groundbreaking documentary series ‘The Family’ and ‘One Born Every Minute’ comes a brand new series – ‘The Hotel’ Dragonfly Film & Television are looking for a small/medium independently run hotel in Britain to be the focal point of an exciting new series.

This will be a unique opportunity for one hotel as life behind the scenes is captured for a month on film.

They would like a vibrant hotel with warm and humorous staff which caters for regular customers, summer trade and functions such as birthday parties, weddings or wakes.  The series will give a heart-warming insight into life in 21st century Britain.

If you think that you could be The Hotel, please download the form here and e-mail it to thehotel@dragonfly.tv with or call 0207 033 2301 for more information.

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FREE Business Advice Days – date for your diary

Running a business involves a myriad of legislation – not all of it easy to understand.

– Do you want to employ staff but are not sure where to start?
– How does VAT on tourism and leisure businesses differ?
– Do you need access to new finance or a review of your current finances?

HM Revenue and Customs are holding a FREE Business Advice Open Day at the Hilton Hotel, Blackpool on Wednesday 19th May.

Click here for further details and to book.

Diane Blakemore

Quality in Tourism Online Application Tool- now live!

Good news! Quality in Tourism has now launched an online application tool at www.qualityintourism.com, which will make the accreditation application process easier and quicker for many.

The online application tool is available for our major product types and accessed via each individual scheme page:-

• Hotel
• Self Catering
• Guest Accommodation
• Serviced Appartments
• Parks
• Holiday Villages
• Hostels
• Individual Caravans
• Chalets
They will not be taking payment online.  This is because they want to offer participants the greatest flexibility in making a payment so this could be by BACS, Cheque, Credit Card, Direct Debit (5% Discount available for DD customers) or a mixture.
From 1st April 2010,  new Applicants will also be able to pay their participation/annual fee in two instalments if choosing Direct Debit.
** Please be aware that we (the Lancashire and Blackpool Tourist Board)  are giving a 50% introductory / year one grant to establishments who have never been accredited before. The online system won’t be able to handle the grant process. Please click here for more information and to download an application form.
Amy Colgan

Sweets and Treats at Helmshore Textile Museum

With the Heritage Revealed campaign well underway, it was time for our steering group update, so three of us headed to Helmshore Textile Museum for the meeting on Tuesday afternoon. Now, I was especially looking forward to the meeting. Not just so we could show off our lovely new brochure and treasure trails…the group were also acting as guinea pigs for Helmshore cafe’s cream tea (due to appear on their menu when they re-open later this month). I’m a sucker for a scone with jam and cream, and I wasn’t disappointed! It was delicious, with three tier cake stands crammed with delicious afternoon treats. All sunk down with a lovely cup of tea – the perfect mix for us to graze over our heritage discussions. And I’m sure they’ll be really popular with the many visitors passing through… Check out what’s going on during the campaign at www.embarkonajourney.com

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.