Pier pressure

A TOURISM guru has urged Scarborough to ‘adapt or die’ if it is to attract visitors to the town.

Iain Hawkins is one of the driving forces behind Blackpool’s incredible resurgence, from forgotten relic into a major “global brand”.

Addressing the Tourism Forum on Tuesday, he said that Scarborough, currently the third most visited place in the whole of the UK, could lose that status if it fails to take a leaf out of Blackpool’s book in encouraging new markets and luring attractions to the town.

He stated that “serious investment” would be needed for Scarborough to try to match Blackpool, and that if Scarborough wants to advance, the council “must play a vital role”.

He urged Scarborough Council to take risks, saying: “Blackpool has had quite a few bloody noses over the last few years, but that shouldn’t put you off.

“They need to have a long term plan. What this is is not just building a few attractions and hoping they last 25 years. It’s about building things that last.”

Mr Hawkins has helped reinvigorate Blackpool by utilising its iconic attractions, such as the Tower, Pleasure Beach theme park and its piers, promoting them to the world, and attracting major attractions to the town, including Madame Tussauds and a state-of-the-art Sea Life Centre.

As a result of the turnaround, Blackpool has been able to secure substantial private investment, and has secured year-round attractions such as the final of Strictly Come Dancing, guaranteeing trade throughout the year.

Mr Hawkins also feels the council must not look to dismiss the “stag and hen market”.

He admitted that people “don’t want to see people be sick”, but said measures can be implemented to control any problems they create. He said: “The way you do it, is you manage it, and control the people who are drunk, dressed as bananas. But it’s good to have bananas – they bring a lot of money to the town.”