Blackpool to reveal fruits of £500m transformation
VisitBlackpool has joined forces with the resort’s Winter Gardens complex and a range of hotel partners to exhibit at the International Confex to be staged at ExCeL London, 25-26 February.
Blackpool has returned to the conference and events mainstream, and the resort’s message is to showcase its £500m transformation of the resort and its conference offer.
A brand new £28m conference centre which is under construction adjacent to the historic Winter Gardens, increasing capacity to almost 8,000 delegates when it officially opens for business early next year.
Several three-, four- and five-star hotels are also under construction.
The electrification of the Blackpool to Preston railway line will open up the resort to direct daily services with major cities including London, Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool.
The infrastructure, including a remodelled seafront, new European-style trams and the development of the biggest range of branded visitor attractions outside London, is also to delivered.
Partners at International Confex include representatives from two of the resort’s new hotels, The Boulevard and Hampton By Hilton, as well as existing hotels including The Imperial, Best Western Carlton, Royal Hotels Group and The Grand.
Mandy Tythe-McCallum, business tourism manager, for VisitBlackpool, said: “Blackpool has a long-established reputation as a conference destination, but we need to tell the world that we are not trading on nostalgia.
“Our business tourism offer has benefited from the huge programme of resort regeneration that is underway. At the heart of our offer is the brand-new conference and exhibition centre that has been specifically designed to accommodate modern conferences and other large-scale events.”
With the addition of the new Conference & Exhibition Centre, the Winter Gardens will become a hub of 12 distinct venues offering a total of 4.9 acres of connected conference, meeting, event and exhibition space.
The 140-year old Winter Gardens is itself enjoying a multi-million-pound upgrade including a new air conditioning system, improved digital connectivity and extensive refurbishments throughout the complex.
The plans for the new Conference Centre and upgraded Winter Gardens have already seen the venue sign-up several new major clients and also welcome back a number of big events which had relocated to other venues including the GMB union and the Inner Wheel conference.