The new manager of Preston’s largest city centre hotel has urged it to use the Guild to attract a wave of new visitors. Gary Laird, who has taken over as general manager at the Holiday Inn, said the event in 2012 has the potential to give the city a major tourist boost in a similar way that the arrival of Capital of Culture has in Liverpool.
He has just swapped places with former Preston manager Jonathan King, who has taken over at the Holiday Inn in Liverpool city centre. Mr Laird, 43, said: “The Capital of Culture was a once in a lifetime chance for Liverpool to attract a whole new type of visitor and the Guild can do the same for Preston.
“I remember Preston getting city status back in 2002 and I am not sure it has really capitalised on that in the way it should do, but the Guild could be the making of Preston as a city.
“From my experiences of the place you arrive here thinking it is somewhere you do not know much about and go away thinking it is somewhere you want to come back too, that is what we have got to show people coming for the Guild.”
He said that the Capital of Culture brought around £2bn extra spend, including thousands of extra visitors to hotels and attractions in Liverpool, and urged businesses in Preston to ensure they reap the rewards of the Guild.
The new manager also welcomed the potential benefits the £700m Tithebarn regeneration scheme, which would take place next door to the Holiday Inn.
He said he wanted the hotel to “grow as that development grows” and make itself the flagship hotel in the city.