Blackpool Illuminations has scooped a national award at Enjoy England Awards for Excellence, walking away with the Gold Award for Best Tourism Event of the Year.
The prestigious Awards took place in Brighton and celebrate the best of English tourism, promoting healthy industry competition and high standards, helping to ensure England’s place as a world-class destination.
Blackpool Illuminations received Gold ahead of Salisbury International Arts Festival and the Brighton Festival, who were nominated in the same category.
Blackpool Illuminations has been a tradition since 1879 and is now firmly established as an integral part of the region’s fabric. This popular annual event, which takes place from early September to early November, is a family-friendly event which brings over three million visitors from around the UK to witness this £2.4 million event. Blackpool Illuminations is credited with pumping over £275 million into the local economy, as well as extending the traditional tourist season by a further nine weeks, which the judges noted, is a very impressive achievement.
Blackpool Illuminations Manager, Richard Ryan said, “This award is such wonderful news.
”We try to make every year very special and last year was one of the best and it’s great to see our efforts being given this prestigious award.
“We have won awards in the past, but they don’t come much bigger than this. It’s brilliant for Blackpool and for all the staff who work so hard to get it right each year.”
The 46 gold and silver winners were selected from over 100 regional winners submitted by the nine regions of England and were rigorously assessed by independent assessors and a team of judges to make it through to the national final. The finalists were selected by a panel of tourism industry judges which included previous Gold winners, travel journalists and industry experts.
Natalie Wyatt, Head of visitBlackpool added, “visitBlackpool is delighted that the Illuminations have won this accolade.
“2009 was a fantastic year for the resort and saw the completion of the new Illuminations feature Brilliance which is a fantastic sound and light show in the heart of the town centre.
“Brilliance is just another innovative way of bringing the Illuminations into the town centre and linking in with events, adding something different to this electrifying show. It enables us and other event organisers, to programme events not just during the Illuminations period but all year round.
“The award is well-deserved and the team will be delighted that their hard work has been recognised in this way.”
Blackpool Illuminations shine non-stop for 66 nights from Friday 3 September to Sunday 7 November 2010. The event kicks off with a celebrity switch on ceremony on Friday 3 September and this year’s switch on artist will follow in the footsteps of Alan Carr, Top Gear, Dr Who to name a few, supported by some of the country’s top music artists.
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Did you know?
- The Illuminations started with a display of eight arc lamps back in 1879.
- The event was so innovative it even preceded Thomas Edison’s patent of the humble electric light bulb which didn’t arrive until the following year.
- In 1879 the Illuminations were described as artificial sunshine and 100,000 people came to see this first great light show.
- Forty large tableaux holding more than 5,000 square metres in surface area are included in the display.
- The equipment weighs more than 711,000 kilograms which is equivalent to 350 Blackpool trams.
- Illuminations have been sold to Jeddah.
- There are over a million lamps in the display.
- There are more than 500 floodlights and spotlights.
- In 1939 the lights were erected but never switched on because of the outbreak of war.
- In the 1960’s electronic controllers were pioneered in the Illuminations. Rope light or “linear light” as it was originally known was also pioneered here.
- It takes 22 weeks to erect the Illuminations.
- It takes nine weeks to dismantle them.
- Most of the display now operates on low voltage eg. 12v and 24v.
- There are more than 100 miles of festoon strip strung between promenade poles and across the carriageway.
- Cable and wiring in the display stretches more than 200 miles.
- The Illuminations cost £2.4 million to stage.
- The equipment itself is worth about £10 million.
- In 2003 the Illuminations cut its electricity consumption by 11% using new technology.
- Wind turbines at the Solarium on New South Promenade contributed to powering the llluminations for the first time in 2004.
- In 2002 the display included a world’s first in exterior LED technology.