Blackpool or Bondi? New campaign urges holidays at home

A national campaign has been launched to encourage Britons to take their holidays at home in 2012.

The scheme, which is being led by VisitEngland, will include a series of 10 second destination adverts.

Blackpool, Skegness, Yorkshire and Liverpool will be showcased as part of the campaign.

But what do those living and working in the four destinations make of the idea of trying to highlight their home towns and cities against the likes of Bondi in Australia, Spain and Turkey?


Image caption Blackpool is magical according to guest house owner Claire Smith

Last year plans for a £220m transformation of Blackpool centre were welcomed as a boost to the resort's economy.

But in November 2011 there was disappointment when the Department for the Environment and Rural Affairs (Defra) announced that Lancashire has six of the 10 worst bathing beaches in England and Wales.

The list included Blackpool's central and south beaches.

But guest house owners remain positive about their community.

Claire Smith, who has a five star bed and breakfast in Blackpool, is president of Stay Blackpool, a guest house and hoteliers association.

"There is something magical about Blackpool," she said.

"It has something for absolutely everyone - whatever the age and whatever the weather. It caters for everyone.

"Nowhere else has all the attractions and entertainment or the characters. Blackpool has such a buzz and excitement - it's all about fun."

She said new attractions like the Blackpool Tower Dungeon and Madame Tussauds as well as the open-air Tower Festival Headland on the promenade, which is going to be opened by Elton John, were helping to draw in the crowds.

"The best thing is that the resort puts a smile on the faces of the 13 million people who visit it," the guest house owner said.


Image caption The Lonely Planet described Skegness as a place where "culture vultures would probably run a mile"

Last year, Lonely Planet described Skegness as "good family fun if you immerse yourself in the whole tacky spectacle", but warned that "culture vultures will probably run a mile".

Editor David Else defended his guide's take on the resort, adding: "There is nothing wrong with Skeggy, but we tell it like it is."

Lonely Planet has declined to comment on the latest campaign to promote the resort.

But East Lindsey District Council, the local authority for Skegness, is trying to promote the area which was the birthplace of Butlins and the famous Redcoats.

Councillor Craig Leyland, portfolio holder for the economy, said: "As well as a traditional holiday experience on the coast we have wonderful market towns - some of the best in the country and a wealth of heritage that we want to share with visitors.

"We must embrace 2012 and the opportunities it provides to promote our area and the excellent events we have planned through East Lindsey Live and SO Festival, plus the Olympic Torch Relay on June 27."

Colin Foran, secretary of Skegness East Coast and Wolds Hospitality Association (SECWHA), said: "The campaign will give the area a much needed boost in 2012 and has got to be an added opportunity to attract new visitors."

Duncan Yeadon, from Skegness Natureland, is also supportive of the campaign.

He said: "I think it will have a positive impact - it's supporting British tourism. Like any other business in the last few years we've seen harsh times, so anything which helps promote the resort will give us a good start."


Image caption Paul Beesley runs a Beatles tour in Liverpool

Liverpool was European City of Culture in 2008.

The city is also home to art gallery Tate Liverpool and the famous Cavern Club where The Beatles made their name.

Duncan Frazer, the Mersey Partnership's commercial and marketing director, said: "We are delighted that Liverpool is to feature in the Great 2012 television campaign. It's going to generate huge interest in the destination.

"This is a unique opportunity for tourism businesses to get involved in a multi-million pound television campaign and we are delighted that we can offer this free of charge.

"I'd encourage everyone involved in the city region's visitor economy to support the campaign and help attract new and returning visitors by offering the best experience possible."

Paul Beesley, a Beatles tour guide in the city, said: "Within the city region, 40,000 people are employed due to tourism and visitors to Liverpool, so it's massively important to the area.

"We recognise there's a huge opportunity this year with people coming into the country due to the Olympics, but at the same time, with the economic situation and times being tight, people are thinking what else they could do within the UK.

"People will start to discover places they might not have known existed."

He added: "The thing I love about Liverpool the most is it's an area with a great history, but it also has an eye to the future."


Image caption Organisers of an annual awards ceremony said Yorkshire was bucking the trend

Yorkshire is home to a host of tourist attractions which attract people from all over Britain.

Last year organisers of an annual awards ceremony said Yorkshire was bucking the trend with a rise in tourism.

Tourism body Welcome to Yorkshire said there were 216 million visits to the county each year.

In January for the second year running the tourist organisation for Yorkshire won the best marketing campaign at an international travel event.

Welcome to Yorkshire was rewarded for its 2010 marketing campaign at the World Travel Awards in Doha, Qatar.

In the VisitEngland advert Harry Potter star Rupert Grint is shown in surfing gear on a beach in Bridlington.

Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, said: "It's great that Bridlington is to star in this high profile campaign to promote domestic tourism, it is one of the jewels in Yorkshire's coastline.

"Yorkshire and its brilliant beaches will be firmly at the front of people's minds when they are thinking about booking their break this year and that is great news for the county."

He added the timing of the advert was "great" for Yorkshire's east coast as it was creating a new arts trail.

The David Hockney Trail will allow visitors to Yorkshire to walk in the footsteps of the Bradford-born artist.

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