Blackpool catering exhibitions merge for 2011

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Blackpool’s two annual catering and hospitality shows are joining forces to deliver a larger county event from 2011. The second Lancashire Hotel Catering and Hospitality Show, which is organised by the Consortium of Events and Tourism, will be held from 6-7 April 2011 at the Winter Gardens Blackpool and incorporate the rival annual Caterama exhibition. Caterama has been running for 25 years and was last held by its organiser, Clifton Quality Meats, at the Norbreck Castle Hotel in March. “We started the Lancashire show because we saw a gap in the county market for a trade exhibition of decent size,” Consortium of Events and Tourism director, Mike Riches said. Although the organiser initially approached Caterama to join forces before running its first event, contractual obligations to the venue prevented a union until 2011.  “The situation was that Blackpool couldn’t manage two shows together. We decided to join forces to make it the biggest and best show it could be in the county,” Riches told EN. Approximately 5,200 visitors attended the launch 2010 Lancashire Hotel Catering and Hospitality Show, while 1,500 made it to Caterama. Riches said he was looking to attract 8,000-10,000 in 2011. The combined show is expected to have 176 stands and take up 3,500sqm of total hall space, but has the option to extend by another 1,00sqm. Next year’s combined event will have several new show elements including a cooking demonstration stage, the Young Student Chef of the Year awards and speakers from local attractions. The organiser has also launched a wine village on the show floor and will partner with Lancashire Wine School to provide four-hour tasting sessions for attendees. “My aim is to put something new into the show every year,” Riches said. “By 2014, I’m aiming to get 300 stands at the show.” Consortium of Events and Tourism will also run the first Hotel Catering and Hospitality Show in Carlisle on 13-14 April, one week after the Blackpool event. The show will run in The Sand Centre and feature 138 stands. Earlier this year, Blackpool Council acquired Winter Gardens, along with Blackpool Tower, in a £40m deal.
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