Marcus Magee, general manager at the Hilton Liverpool, sees a bright future for Merseyside as the region continues to feel the positive effects from Liverpool's stint as European Capital of Culture.
"Liverpool has been home to some of the world's most iconic music, sporting and cultural figures, so it was no surprise that it was chosen to be the European Capital of Culture in 2008.
There is no denying the impact the year-long celebrations had on the region, with positive effects felt not only by the tourism industry but by all manner of local businesses as well - and these will undoubtedly shape the future of Merseyside for some time.
But the legacies from the celebrations have, in my view, already changed the face of the city - for example, the opening last year of the Convention Centre on the city's waterfront as part of a £146m investment, along with the Echo Arena. It is improved facilities like these and increased levels of investment that will really bring long term benefits to the area, its people and its tourists.
The success of last year has inevitably led to increased competition in the hotel market, with room stock increasing by more than a third in 2007/08 - and this has resulted in a general improvement in the quality of the offer throughout the city.
The wider Merseyside area has also been targeted by hoteliers, who have been keen to join its success and take advantage of the subsequent increase in visitors for both business and pleasure.
The fact that Hilton has chosen Liverpool's John Lennon airport as the venue for its first Hampton by Hilton - the new economy brand - is an indication of how our business sees the future in the area. It reinforces a commitment being made by many other businesses that see Merseyside as a region of growth and prosperity for the future.
We certainly see the future of the region as bright and are looking forward to being part of the ongoing legacy of last year's Capital of Culture."