What a summer it has been. It was great to see Blackpool packed with holidaymakers yet again this year as we continue to grow the town as the UK’s number one seaside destination.
This year’s Livewire Festival, with the one and only Will Smith performing, added to our already bumper calendar of events such as the Illuminations Switch-On, Air Show and World Fireworks Championships which helps attract millions of tourists into town.
The events aren’t just for tourists however, half of the free wristbands for Switch-On are allocated to local people and I really hope you and your families were one of the over 100,000 people who enjoyed the Air Show.
Holding events like these and attracting more tourists to Blackpool is so important to our local economy. The tourist trade here provides jobs for 24,000 local people.
In Blackpool, one in three jobs are supported by the tourist trade. Think about your family. If any of them work in a hotel, restaurant, town centre shop or for a company who do business with those types of industries, then their job is being supported by these visitors to the town, while attracting more tourists helps to create even more jobs like those.
And that’s the key word – jobs.
Creating a stronger economy is one of my two main priorities for this council and I am pleased at the sheer scale of jobs that are being created by the current and upcoming investments in the town.
While it is great for Blackpool’s image to see new hotels and office blocks being built, if you look behind the fancy new glass facades there is something much more important happening.
To construct all of these new buildings you need workers to do the hard graft and for the large part the jobs being created for these projects are going to people living in Blackpool. Whether they are self-employed electricians, plumbers, welders or general labourers, that means that the money being invested in these building projects ultimately ends up in the back pockets of local people, helping put food on the table and petrol in your car.
Similarly, when these buildings open, they will create more jobs for receptionists, cleaners, managers, waiters, chefs and many more which can go to Blackpool people.
I can’t lie – all of these construction projects will create some disruption. But when you get stuck behind a digger or are driving on a diversion route, I would encourage you to remember three things.
Firstly, remember your family member or friend whose job is being supported by the tourism economy and secondly, remember the families who can afford to feed their children because mum or dad has found a new job.
Finally, remember that diversions and disruption are for the short term, an improved Blackpool will benefit us all for a long time to come.