Blackpool's tourism industry loses almost three quarter of visitors due to Covid pandemic

Credit: PA Images

Blackpool lost 70% of its visitors last year due to Covid and tier restrictions, it has been revealed.

The resort's tourism bosses say that means an estimated loss of £1 billion in revenue compared with the year before.

The figures, from VisitBlackpool, come almost a year after tourism businesses sent an 'SOS message' to the Prime Minister over the "catastrophic" effect of lockdowns and tier restrictions.

Figures show around six million people visited the seaside town in 2020, compared to more than 18 million in the pre-pandemic year of 2019.

While economic impact fell from £1.6bn to just under £600m.

The Blackpool illuminations has been extended by two months in an effort to kickstart the tourism economy once more.

Councillor Lynn Williams, the leader of Blackpool Council, said the large decrease had been anticipated and reflected the massive impact that tier restrictions and repeated lockdowns had on the tourism and hospitality sector in 2019.

But, she praised the resilience and determination of local businesses to get through the crisis.

She said: "We witnessed at first hand the huge impact of the pandemic on our tourism industry and the people who work in it.

"Never was that more stark than this time last year when Blackpool was pushed, against our will, into Tier 3 restrictions on the eve of October half-term, wiping out what should have been the most lucrative part of the season.

"Over the course of last year we lost all but one bank holiday and even when businesses were allowed to trade it was with reduced capacity and social distancing measures in place. It was arguably the worst year our tourism industry has ever experienced."

The Council says it has invested £1m to "kick-start tourism" in 2021 to "get the industry back on its feet as quickly as possible".

It added that footfall on the seafront during July and August was more than 60% ahead of pre-pandemic levels in 2019 and 47% ahead of last year.

Meanwhile views on the VisitBlackpool website are 1.2m ahead of 2019, a 50% increase.