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Illuminating new partnership between York and Blackpool


12:01am 11th November 2011

Two of the most well-known tourist destinations in the north of England, York and Blackpool, have formally announced that they will be working in partnership on a range of projects that will mutually benefit both authorities in developing their offer to visitors.

The collaboration between the two councils will involve sharing experience, specialist knowledge and equipment in an effort to develop effective new ways of working, whilst saving money in the process.    

The first project will be focused on specific areas, with Blackpool Illuminations advising and loaning technical equipment, to support the new offer for the Illuminating York festival in 2012.  

Developed over the last seven years, this internationally acclaimed event changes year-on-year, and the collaboration will seek to help out with the loan of technical projectors and the proven expertise in lighting that Blackpool can deliver.

In return, Blackpool will benefit from York's experience in developing a strong and vibrant markets programme with a view to holding successful street markets in St John's Square. York has one of the best programmes of specialist markets in the UK, with a diverse range of continental markets, vintage/antique and Taste Yorkshire food fairs.  

There will also be the potential to negotiate the loan of items from York's Art Gallery and Museums, which would offer Blackpool access to a unique collection of pictures, objects and historic documents that rarely go on tour.

Cllr Sonja Crisp, Cabinet Member for Leisure, Culture and Social Inclusion at City of York Council, said:

"It may seem an unlikely partnership, but York and Blackpool, despite lots of differences, are two globally recognised tourism brands.  Both destinations have delivered award-winning marketing and both are brand leaders in their respective areas.  In addition, the destinations are connected by a direct train service and there are real opportunities for cross promotion of the tourist offers of both Blackpool and York.  

"The collaboration seeks to access expertise and services from both partners to reduce the cost of staging cultural events and festivals into the future.  Sharing ideas and experience should be at the heart of local authority ambitions, particularly when services can be improved and savings made as a result.

"So, this is something we're really excited about.  2012 is a special year for both Blackpool and York, with the centenary of the Blackpool Illuminations and the celebration of York 800 festival - commemorating 800 years of the city's royal charter. So this collaboration couldn't have come at a better time."

Cllr Graham Cain, Blackpool Council's Cabinet Member for Tourism and Culture:

"We are delighted to announce this partnership with City of York Council, which will see us both sharing valuable knowledge and experience in order to develop what our councils can offer to both residents and visitors in the future.

"We have valuable experience in hosting and organising world class events such as the Illuminations and the World Fireworks Championships, so are able to offer City of York Council advice and support with these areas for the Illuminating York 2012 festival next year, as well as with other events they have planned.

"We are constantly looking to improve the offer for Blackpool too and this partnership will enable us to develop the street markets programme in St John's Square, which will bring new activity to the town centre and developing the skills of other local partners in the process."
Gillian Cruddas, Chief Executive of Visit York said:

"Illuminating York has been a hugely successful festival, attracting visitors from across the UK and Europe.  Technical expertise is crucial in terms of making this festival a success and it is exciting to see what knowledge Blackpool can share with us."

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