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DIGITAL NOMADS FIND A HOME ON THE SILICON SANDS


Former paparazzi photographer Duncan Ridgley is focusing on a very different digital picture for Blackpool.


 hotel’ aims to make the town the UK capital for a wandering band of remote workers from across the globe.


To do that he is looking to take advantage of transformational projects that have led to the town being dubbed the ‘Silicon Sands’ of the UK.


Blackpool’s digital offering exceeds some of London’s internet speeds and capabilities, which those tasked with forging its economic future say creates a perfect opportunity for those in “data- 


Another ‘game-changer’ was the successful connection of a super-fast subsea internet cable landed at Blackpool last year. It is one of only a handful of high-capacity digital links crossing the North Atlantic, forming a major artery between America and Europe.


With the capability to deliver some of the world’s fastest, most resilient internet speeds it will connect directly to the town’s airport enterprise zone.


Before arriving in Blackpool, tourism entrepreneur and photographer Duncan spent years as a ‘digital nomad’. It’s a growing way of working. Nomads travel to different countries, using technology to work remotely as they move around.


They are attracted to popular tourist destinations such as Thailand and Bali in the Far East. Greece and Croatia are also hotspots. Now they can add the Lancashire coast to that list.


Duncan bought his 15-bed guest house in August 2019 and has worked to transform it into the  nomads can stay for £300 a month.


He says that cost, coupled with Blackpool’s great digital connectivity, its traditional communication links with the rest of the UK and its own attractions, is a winning formula.


Duncan, who set up a similar venture in Egypt and had a hotel in Sri Lanka that was damaged by the 2004 tsunami, says the high cost of staying in London and other major cities had been a major deterrent for nomads when it came to the UK.


He’s invested around £100,000 in in his ‘Somwhere Different Digital Nomad Hotel’ venture and had started to attract visitors, including a Russian travel blogger, before the  travel restrictions are lifted, he will see more.


Duncan says: “Digital nomads work from anywhere as long as they have top-notch broadband. They also look to the experience of being somewhere different. We can deliver that.


“They aren’t tourists. As well as working they want to see what the country is all about and experience its culture.”


He adds: “Digitally the new cable from America is a big thing. We’ve got superfast connection here which works.”


A digital nomad enjoys the seaside experience


Paul Smith, who chairs the Blackpool Town Deal  what Blackpool is or isn’t.


 cable landed in Blackpool, and a third of the  through Blackpool and on to Scandinavia.


“People just dismissed it and said that can’t be right. But once you start explaining this to potential investors, the scales fall from their eyes, and they can see a wholly different narrative.”


Tony Doyle, head of ICT services at Blackpool Council, agrees and says the town’s digital strategy is starting to pay off. It is a strategy that continues to be developed.


The digital transformation was kick-started when the council was awarded £3m from the 


 along the famous tramway that stretches along the coast from Blackpool to Fleetwood, with the aim of also connecting the area’s two enterprise zones.


Tony says: “When you look back it was connectivity, the steam trains and the trams, that put Blackpool on the map. Now we’ve got that new 21st century connectivity which is all 


The Spirit to Succeed


In Blackpool we go the extra mile for your business. Whether you need new premises, a skilled workforce or longer-term support, we’re here to help. Find out how Blackpool can make it work for you.


Find out more at businessinblackpool.com or get in touch at mail@businessinblackpool.com.


LANCASHIREBUSINESSVIEW.CO.UK


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BLACKPOOL


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