The City of Liverpool hopes its new status as the European Capital of Culture 2008 will bring it an extra 1.7 million visitors and boost tourism spend by as much as £200m.
Liverpool beat stiff competition from other UK cities including Birmingham and Newcastle for the title, announced by the secretary of state for the department of culture, media and sport, Tessa Jowell, last week.
Announcing the winning city, Jowell said Liverpool was a worthy winner. "Their vision, passion and enthusiasm coupled with a really spectacular year-long programme impressed the judges, who chose them from a very strong field."
Sir Jeremy Isaacs, chairman of the independent panel set up to judge the competition, said he expected the win to have a positive effect on tourism in the city but that more hotels would be required to meet demand.
Commenting on the announcement, Thomas O'Brien, chief executive of tourism and business development agency, The Mersey Partnership, said it was a unique and defining moment for Liverpool. "In being crowned European Capital of Culture 2008, the city has answered the critics, cynics and comics to take up a place in history that it could never have dreamed of 30 years ago."
General manager of the Crowne Plaza Liverpool and chairman of the Liverpool hotel and conference association, Stephen Roberts had already experienced a boost in trade since the announcement. "In the three days since the announcement, there has been significantly increased interest in everything from short breaks to small conferences for this year and the next. The win is fantastic news for all businesses in the city," he said.
Despite losing, Ms Jowell said that other short-listed cities Birmingham, Newcastle and Gateshead, Oxford, Bristol and Cardiff would still receive Government support and a small amount of money to fulfil the plans set out in their failed bids.
"I hope these cities will take pride in the way they competed and what competing has done for their cities," she said.
Sir Jeremy and deputy chairs Sue MacGregor and Dame Judith Mayhew said the panel had received an enormously favourable impression of what's happening in British cities around the country.
What liverpool can expect to gain
As European City of Culture Liverpool will host a full calendar of events and exhibitions during 2008. However, winning the capital of culture title is not just about glory, but capital gain. A report by ERM Economics, commissioned by Liverpool City council, estimates winning the title will generate:
- An extra 1.7 million extra visitors and extra spending of over £50m a year.
- £200m in increased tourism spend
- Public and private sector investment of £2b over the next five years
- 14,000 new jobs in the culture and tourism sectors
The developments planned will reinforce the city's role as a regional shopping centre, its role as a UK and European tourism destination and its cultural heritage.
Source: Caterer & Hotelkeeper magazine, 12 - 18 June 2003