One of Lancashire’s biggest business awards is already boosting Blackpool’s economy, according to a group which represents firms in the resort.

The Blackpool Business Leadership Group (BBLG) said hotels had already seen an upturn in accommodation bookings from guests attending the Be Inspired Business Awards, the BIBAs, which takes place at the Blackpool Tower on Friday.

It comes after the awards revealed it had spent £140,000 with suppliers in Lancashire for this year’s ceremony, including with a number of firms from Blackpool.

BBLG chairman Martin Long said this double boost would continue the awards’ long-standing support for the town’s economy.

He said: “Blackpool is blessed with a number of excellent venues which attract an all-star list of events ranging from music concerts to awards nights such as the BIBAs.

“Every year when the BIBAs comes to town, we see hotel bookings rise with people staying in the resort on the night of the ceremony and many of them will eat in a restaurant, drink in a bar or visit our shopping centres.

“All this adds up to an enormous benefit for Blackpool and I cannot wait for us to host another sell-out crowd for the BIBAs this Friday night.”

Danny Houghton, from Preston-based chartered accountants Moore and Smalley, said the impact of events to Lancashire’s economy could not be underestimated.

He said: “When we think of the tourism industry, we often think of the illuminations in Blackpool of major concerts coming to places like Blackpool at Preston, but it is more than this.

“Business awards ceremonies, conferences and exhibitions attract thousands of people to Lancashire every year, bringing with them disposable income which boosts hotels, restaurants, bars and many other service industries.

“We do have a number of high-quality venues in the county which attract such events, but we cannot afford to rest on our laurels, we must keep innovating to keep this vital income.”

The awards will be handed out at an event in the Tower Ballroom which gets underway from 6.30pm on Friday and will see 19 prizes handed out to companies and individuals from across the county.

This includes the lifetime achievement award, Lancastrian of the Year, which is currently held by Eric Wright, the founder and chairman of Bamber Bridge construction firm, Eric Wright Group.

There will be a collection on the night in support of the BIBAs Foundation, a charity set up by the awards alongside the Lancashire Community Foundation, to support enterprise projects in the county.

The amount raised will be added to any profits generated by the ceremony, which is a not-for-profit event.

Last month, the BIBAs handed out more than £7,000 in grants to the East Lancashire Deaf Society, Hyndburn Arts Trust, Red Rose Sports Club and disabled services provider Spring into Action CIC.

The funding will support projects to give young people, aged 16-24 years old, business skills including running a theatre production company, becoming freelance sports coaches and setting up their own businesses.