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Rail strike causes concern among Blackpool tourism sector
Following two disastrous summer seasons, Blackpool hoteliers and tourism chiefs have been confident that 2022 would be a return to normal with record visitors predicted throughout the year. Nevertheless the rail strikes have put a massive spanner in the works and the lack of rail services could severely dent the predicted growth in a resort which depends very much on its holiday trade.
Seaside resorts up and down the country are feeling the full force of the strike, many areas fully reliant on tourism being left with no train services on strike days as mainline routes are prioritised.
Many business in Blackpool are still very much in survival mode due to the Covid-19 restrictions of 2020 and 2021 and the timing of the industrial action has been described as “disgusting” by many in the tourism sector.
The recovery from the Covid-19 restrictions has been going extremely well thus far with figures revealing a 75% increase in overall visitor numbers compared to pre-pandemic levels. Between September 2021 and December 2021, around 12.2 million people visited Blackpool town centre, an increase of 3 million on 2019.
Nevertheless tourism bosses are naturally concerned with what might lie ahead, the Unions threatening to continue the rail strikes throughout the summer if their demands aren’t met.
25,000 people are currently employed in tourism throughout Blackpool and the local area and this doesn’t include the wider supply chain. The impact on all local businesses all the way through this supply chain are going to be massively affected by this strike and Blackpool’s optimism for the season ahead has been shattered.