Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Blackpool mon amour

Blackpool gets a pretty bad rap and is clearly keen to reinvent itself. As is the North West Development Agency (NWDA), who recently funded a promotional short film, J'aime la Tour.
   The film takes a deliberately alternative look at the classic British kiss-me-quick resort, highlighting its attractions to French visitors given current currency fluctuations in the Eurozone. 
   Clearly the idea was a success on its launch day with acres of press coverage and the head of tourism interviewed across TV channels. Last time I checked, the film had been watched over 54,000 times on YouTube.
   But not all the coverage was positive, notably a scathing blog from the Mail on Sunday, which suggested that Blackpool should be concentrating on its core market, namely Brits on seaside family hols, not French visitors looking for Vegas sur la mer.
   Having spoken subsequently to people involved, I get the feeling that this was purely a talking-point exercise and there's nothing to substantiate the French angle. 
   Likewise I spoke to several travel editors about this. Their feeling? This was a news story, it's over and there's nothing in it for the travel sections.
   So, here's my question: while the short-term benefit to Blackpool in terms of profile is undeniable, what is the longer-term impact at a time when many Brits are thinking about taking holidays closer to home.
   Does J'aime la Tour sell Blackpool as a place to rediscover or alienate a key audience? Post your comments here and join the conversation.

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