Region on track for visitor increase

Merseyside is on track to see an extra £77m generated from visitors by 2025 according to a new report.

The figure was revealed in a one year review of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority’s strategy to increase tourism across the region both in Liverpool as well as Wirral, Southport, and other areas.

According to the combined authority, the city region could also record a direct rise in more than 800,000 visitors as well as nearly 1.5m extra days people spend out and about over the same time period.

Over the last year, a number of major events have been held across the Liverpool City Region from the Eurovision Song Contest to the 151st Golf Open in Hoylake.

In 2024, music artist Taylor Swift is due to perform three sell-out shows at Anfield Stadium and the On The Waterfront Festival will return.

The strategy involves improving marketing, visitor information, and the launching of three new websites. The combined authority has also worked with Liverpool John Lennon Airport to improve connections to the airport following Lufthansa and Jet2 announcing flights from there.

It was funded by £1.5m from the combined authority with Wirral getting £350,000 over three years. The council will also contribute £150,000 to the project and said that during the Open 35,000 people were reached through its new social channels.

Wirral has seen an increase in visitor numbers with nearly 2m more in 2022 compared to 2021 and an additional £128m generated that year compared to 2021. Hotel occupancy and the number of people in full-time jobs was also up.

The report is being brought to Wirral Council’s tourism, communities, culture and leisure committee alongside a report detailing the local authority’s plans to celebrate being the “borough of culture” in 2024.

Every year a different local authority is chosen to be the Borough of Culture and is given a grant of £200,000 by the Liverpool City Region.

According to the council, the year “should be a celebration of Wirral people and places and a showcase for its creative communities and the power of culture and heritage in regeneration.”

In total, more than £800,000 will be spent and alongside the city region funds, other external funding comes from the UK Shared Prosperity and Town Deal funds.

Planned spending includes £208,500 spent on permanent public art projects as part of regeneration efforts in east Wirral and £40,000 on two projects working with young people celebrating their local areas.

£147,000 will also be given out to local organisations “to deliver a lasting legacy” and “deliver events and activities of all kinds in their localities.” This is expected to be launched at the end of the 2023 financial year.

An arts festival will be held in New Brighton with £145,000 going towards this as well as other festivals and cultural events across Wirral.

Wirral Council will also spend £255,000 on delivering a series of activities with £120,000 spent on two celebration events in the spring and autumn. Other events include an artist-led project across Wirral, and activities carried out by libraries, Floral Pavilion, and Williamson Art Gallery.

However, due to a £620,000 cut in its 2021 budget, event management and production costs for the programme will be outsourced and those who receive grants are being encouraged to get additional funding “to enhance delivery and outcomes.”

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