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Blackpool Illuminations wins top travel award



Blackpool Illuminations wins top travel award

The attraction won ‘Best Event for Groups’ in the Group Leisure and Travel Awards

Author: Louisa KingPublished 24 minutes ago

The world-famous Blackpool Illuminations has won a top accolade in a national travel awards scheme.

The annual display, which attracts millions of visitors to the resort during the autumn and winter months, was voted Best Event For Groups in the Group Leisure and Travel Awards, beating competition from other finalists including Royal Ascot, the BBC’s Gardeners’ World Live, Bournemouth Air Festival, RHS Malvern Spring Festival and the historical stage show, Kynren.

The result was announced at a ceremony at the Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington, London, in front of an audience of more than 300 coach and tour operators.

The winners were voted for by readers of Group Leisure & Travel, Britain’s best-read magazine for people who organise group trips and holidays.

The Blackpool Illuminations display is one of the biggest and longest-running light-based festivals in the world. It started in 1879 with just a handful of carbon arc lamps creating what was described at the time as “artificial sunshine”.

The first full display was launched in 1912 to mark the first Royal visit to the resort. More than a century on, it spans six miles of seafront and incorporates over a million lights.

The spectacular display is manufactured and maintained at Blackpool Council’s bespoke Lightworks factory at Blackpool Airport.

Since 2020, the annual free event has been extended from two months to four months, delivering a huge boost to the resort’s economy.

A VisitBlackpool spokesperson said: “We are thrilled that tourism operators have recognised the universal appeal of what is one of the UK’s most enduring visitor attractions.

“For more than a century, the Blackpool Illuminations display has attracted groups and individuals from across the globe, and it has never lost any of the magic and sparkle that brings so much joy and pleasure to people of all ages.”

This year’s display, which includes new tableaux from designers Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen and Leigh Francis (aka Keith Lemon) will be triggered at the annual Switch-On celebration on Friday 30 August.

That event, which is being staged in association with Hits Radio, will see a free-to-access concert on the Tower Festival Headland, culminating in the iconic Switch-On moment when a celebrity will pull the switch to trigger the start of Illuminations season, which runs nightly until January 5, 2025.

Last year’s Switch-On event, which marked a return to the outdoors after three years of being staged indoors due to pandemic restrictions, attracted a record crowd of 80,000 on to the seafront to watch Sophie Ellis-Bextor pull the famous switch.

More details on the live entertainment programme and, of course, the identity of who will switch on this year’s Illuminations will be revealed in the coming weeks.
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