"This will be Blackpool's greatest season ever!"
Any other seaside resort would be proud to shout about a single new attraction at the start of the tourist season.
But for Blackpool in 2018, there’s a whole host of new features ready to be revealed as visitors are set to return for the year.
In an iconic year for the resort, investment in the UK’s number one seaside town for 2018 totals more than Â£100m, hoteliers and business and tourism chiefs were told at the Visit Blackpool and Blackpool Pleasure Beach season launch.
The Pleasure Beach is counting down until the official opening of its Â£16.25m new rollercoaster Icon – the first double launch ride in the UK.
Madame Tussauds’ new Â£1m Marvel Super Heroes feature opens this week, as does the Project Elephant Base Camp at Blackpool Zoo - which at a cost of Â£5m is the zoo’s largest single investment in its 45-year history.
Add to that the – albeit delayed – opening of the electrified railway link to Preston and the opening of the Â£20m Hampton by Hilton hotel at New South Promenade, and it’s a recipe for a bumper season.
Pride and passion were the order of the day, as Pleasure Beach managing director Amanda Thompson opened the event, with similarly toned speeches also from Blackpool Council deputy leader Coun Gillian Campbell and head of visitor economy Philip Welsh.
“This year is going to be exceptional,” she said. “We are going to be driving our visitor numbers through the roof and investing in every one of us who works with us, for us and visits us.
“We are building the future of our resort, of Blackpool Pleasure Beach and making sure Blackpool has the great future it deserves.”
Coun Campbell pushed the council’s strategy of giving visitors ‘compelling reasons’ to come back to Blackpool ‘over and over again’.
“2018 promises to be the most spectacular year of live entertainment in living history,” she said, hailing the return of Livewire Festival and Slimefest, the new Blackpool Festival and the one-off Britney Spears show all taking place at the Tower Festival Headland.
“There’s an aspiration among the key stakeholders for the resort to keep on growing, investing and getting better and better,” Mr Walsh added.
“What underpins the ambition for the resort is the quality of new shows and events; that helps counter any residual negative connotations about the resort.
“Most seaside resorts would be happy to unveil one or two of the things we have this year.
“Â£100m of investment is opening Blackpool to a new generation.”
A completely new-look television advert will be filmed in town in the next week as part of a Â£600,000 campaign, once more under the ‘Blackpool Has It All’ tagline.
The launch, held at the Pleasure Beach’s Globe Theatre, featured performances from the amusement park’s entertainment team, as well as veteran comedy hypnotist Ken Webster – who marks 30 years in town this year, the Evolution Of Magic show and Steve Hewlett, who will all host shows there this year.
Taking inspiration from the hit movie The Greatest Showman – as well as Blackpool’s own place in the history of circus – attendees were welcomed by Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and a feisty female ringmaster.