A director of an international leisure group bringing ‘big investment’ to the Skegness coast has vowed to ‘build the dream’ and work with businesses to boost the area.
Edward Mellors joined the crowds at Fantasy Island on Saturday for the opening fireworks extravaganza, which also celebrated the attraction’s sale to the Mellors Group.
A lot of people are saying bookings are very goodJune Howard, Skegness East Coast and Wolds Hospitality Association (SECWHA)
Mr Mellors, whose father James and brother James Jnr are also company directors, introduced the first urban beach concept to the UK. With a theme park in Dubai also called Fantasy Island, he said he was already feeling at home by the seaside – and promised a new ride just after Easter.
He told the Skegness Standard: “We are very excited about adding Fantasy Island in Skegness to our theme parks.
“The building blocks are already in place for us to look at ways we can reinvigorate the park. We are fortunate in that we own a substantial number of rides and are very well-placed to move things around and give it fresh feel.
“Just after Easter we are planning to bring in a new ride and we will have a rolling programme of improvements.
“We always aim towards the higher end with our rides - the biggest, the best, the fastest. Our family are showmen – it’s what we do. Build the dream and they will come.”
With just over a week before the Easter holidays, promotion of the area for the new season is well under way – and the sale of Fantasy Island after months of uncertainty while it was been in administration is adding to the optimism.
East Lindsey District Council has doubled it print run of promotional brochures to 100,000 and is also working to promote the area with partners such as stakeholders of the Destination Management Organisation (DMO) - including Butlins – and Skegness Partnership.
As well as promoting the Skegness, Mablethorpe and the Lincolnshire Wolds guide through Visit East Lincolnshire, there will also be bus and radio advertising and the launch of a new website next month. The Jolly Fisherman will be doing his bit by making an appearance at Lincolnshire Show and, for the first time the Great Yorkshire Show.
Skegness Partnership has already taken Jolly On Tour to Coventry and Crystal Peaks in Sheffield to attract new visitors. More ‘tours’ are planned in Derbyshire, Newcastle and Norwich.
Bookings are already up along the coast. June Howard, business manager of the Skegness East Coast and Wolds Hospitality Association (SECWHA), said: “Early indications are that we are looking foward to another good season.
“A lot of people are saying bookings seem very good.”
Butlins resort director Chris Baron said: “We are already up nine per cent on last year. It is all looking very positive.”