Pier’s double delight to banish the winter blues

Tuesday 11th February

There are no signs of any ‘winter blues’ at the Grand Pier in Weston-super-Mare, which has enjoyed a very bright start to 2020.

Last week, the resort’s Chamber of Commerce honoured the attraction with first place in the Outstanding Contribution to Tourism category at the Weston Business Awards 2020.

The awards evening came just days after statistics revealed that the Pier had enjoyed its best ever January, with visitor numbers up and the spend-per-head also increased.

And that came hot on the heels of the Pier celebrating its most successful Christmas season yet.

Tim Moyle, Director of the Grand Pier, said: “Winning an award for outstanding contribution to tourism is particularly poignant in 2020, as this marks the 10th anniversary of our re-opening after the fire in July 2008.

“During that decade, we have drawn in some 10 million visitors. Visitor survey statistics from North Somerset Council showed that the largest proportion of those surveyed – 96% - had or intended to visit the Grand Pier.

The Pier is also proud of positioning itself at the heart of the local community, donating around £50,000 every year to charities, and giving away more than 10,000 annual memberships, encouraging people to make repeat visits to the resort.

It’s also one of the town’s biggest employers, too, with a seasonal workforce of around 320 people in August.

Mr Moyle added: “We are very proud to have won this award, which recognises the huge amount of investment, effort and sheer hard work to ensure that the Pier is now so much more than a large amusement arcade; we are a concert and event venue, a wedding venue, a party destination – it’s a true, all-year-round, family attraction.”

If the award win was not enough to ensure that the new year has got off to a bright start, the business figures for January certainly are.

Last month may have had 80 percent more rainy days than January 2019, but it did not stop people from braving the elements and stepping out onto the Pier.

Mr Moyle said: “The first few months of each year is traditionally very quiet here at the Pier.

“The weather is usually quite poor, and people are still recovering from the Christmas period – physically and financially.

“While visitor numbers have been nowhere near the kind of figures we will expect to see in peak season, the number of people who have come through the turnstiles is the highest since they were installed five years ago, and we believe it has been our busiest January ever.

“Overall sales are up, visitor numbers are the highest for January that anyone can remember and spend-per-head has also increased.”

Although the attraction does appear noticeably less busy than in the peak summer months, there is a hive of activity going on behind the scenes, from maintenance and servicing of all the rides to planning and booking a packed programme of activities, special events, entertainments and concerts.

The busiest January comes hot on the heels of the attraction enjoying its best-ever festive season, with nearly 7,000 people choosing to party on the Pier.

That, in turn, followed the biggest and best Halloween Unfairground events in October, while the August Bank Holiday weekend in 2019 provided the Pier with its best weekend ever in terms of footfall and spend.

Mr Moyle added: “Overall, we had a great 2019 on the Pier, and 2020 has got off to the best possible start with our busiest January yet and then the award win.

“We’re just keeping our fingers crossed now that we have another great summer weather wise and the crowds will come flocking to Weston.

“But even if the sun doesn’t shine, we’re an all-year-round attraction – as this January has proved – so there is always a warm welcome waiting for our guests on the Grand Pier.”

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