Liverpool looking for Culture cash bonanza

12 March 2003 by
Liverpool looking for Culture cash bonanza

Liverpool, one of Britain's poorest cities, could attract an extra 1.7 million visitors and increase tourism spend by £200m, should it be the victor in the contest to be named European City of Culture 2008.

A report by ERM Economics, commissioned by Liverpool City Council, indicated that the cumulative effect of a win would generate extra spending in excess of £50m a year and would support another 1,400 jobs in the tourism sector.

It is also predicted that the city would attract investment of £2b over the next five years.

Councillor Mike Storey, leader of the City Council, said: "It's already clear that winning City of Culture would have a huge impact on the lives of thousands of people in Liverpool, Merseyside and the North-west. There would be thousands of new jobs, a huge growth in new industries, an upsurge in new developments and an influx of visitors and tourists."

The Merseyside Economic Review, published this week, reveals that Liverpool's tourism industry is already performing well. Hotel occupancy in the city in 2002 stood at 72%, outperforming both the North-west, at 65%, and the UK average of 58%. Tourism spend for 2002 ran to £600m.

Hotels are now proliferating in Liverpool, with four new properties having opened in the past three years - a 127-room Ibis, an 81-room Formule 1, a 105-room Travelodge and a 146-room Marriott.

Due to open next year are a 150-room, £14m Malmaison hotel, a 200-room Radisson SAS (in March), a £7m, 165-room Travel Inn Metro (in April), and, towards the end of the year, a 75-room Alias hotel.

Liverpool does not yet boast a five-star hotel, something the tourist board blames on the lack of a dedicated conference centre. This is to be rectified by a 35,000- to 55,000-seat arena planned for 2006.

Liverpool Airport, one of the fastest-growing airports in Europe, accommodated 2.8 million passengers last year, 25% more than in 2001.

By Jessica Gunn

Source: Caterer & Hotelkeeper magazine, 13-19 March 2003

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