Liverpool is a city on the rise. We have the potential to become one of the top 5 most visited cities in the UK. Right now, Liverpool is in 6th position for the most visited UK city by international tourists – and we’re the 7th most visited city by domestic tourists. As many will know, Liverpool has transformed significantly over the past 15 years, but there is no ceiling for how much further we can go.
At present, Glasgow holds 5th position with international visitors – but we, as a city, have the potential to knock them off their spot. There really is no place like home for a Liverpudlian, which is why I believe we should stand together to ensure we reach the top 5.
As a city, we must cluster together to create a very powerful human beacon. If we can join together and help promote our region through various social platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram, the upside for our City Region will be immeasurable. Signature Living have proven, beyond any doubt, that through social media we can bring large amounts of tourists to Liverpool – so just imagine what an entire city could do. If the people of our great city could tell the world not only how our City has changed to become one of the UK’s safest cities, with the friendliest population, with culture seeping from every street corner, there would be no end to the amount of tourists that we could attract here.
It is an achievable feat. Liverpool welcomed 601,000 international tourists in 2015, but Glasgow beat us by just 662,000. It is city that is a kin with Liverpool. Both cities offer large Irish immigration communities, have been affected by industrial change and each received the European Capital of Culture.
However, Liverpool is not your average city and I honestly believe we belong in the top 5. We have a truly remarkable history that is seeped into our everyday culture. Heritage we celebrate through unbelievable giants, an array of museums and throughout our community. Our retail districts are better, our accommodation is larger and our maritime trade is stronger.
The pound sterling has reached its lowest rate against the American Dollar since 1985, following Brexit. It is fair to say the country’s future is seemingly uncertain, which is why we must take our recovery into our own hands to build a stronger local economy and city.
When international visitors decide to visit the UK, we want to be the city they choose to visit. With Brexit stopping many people from travelling abroad, due to the weak currency exchange rate, many people will opt to holiday in the UK – so there has never been a better time for Liverpool to showcase our superb attractions to the rest of the country.
What Sets Liverpool Apart from Other UK Cities?
Four years after receiving UNESCO World Heritage Status, Liverpool was awarded the European Capital of Culture in 2008. Thanks to the city’s cultural landmarks, extensive history and international status, Liverpool beat off competition from Bristol, Birmingham, Cardiff, Newcastle-Gateshead and Oxford.
There was, however, one major difference that set Liverpool apart from other UK cities – and it is the very thing that makes tourists fall in love with Liverpool – and that is our people.
Sir Jeremey Isaacs, the head of the panel of independent judges, stated: “Taken overall, Liverpool looked good, sounded good, feels good to be in and would deliver a really terrific year. If one had to say one thing that swung it for Liverpool, it would have to be there was a greater sense that the whole city is involved in the bid and behind it.”
Scousers are proud of where they come from, which is why they’re more than happy to provide tourists with a friendly welcome, point them in the right direction or just enjoy a friendly chat in the bus stop – and it’s this reason why so many people travel and return to Liverpool.
Let’s take a look at how Liverpool compares to two of the most visited cities in the UK…
The only city that beats Liverpool for museums, parks, galleries and Grade II* listed buildings is London, but, let’s face it, England’s capital isn’t exactly famous for its warm welcome. Liverpool, however, is known for being full to the brim with fun and friendly characters.
While many of London’s landmarks and attractions are spread out across the city, requiring a fair bit of transport to get from A to B – you can simply head from one landmark to another across Liverpool. Our city might be small in size in comparison to London, but it offers countless attractions that are often just a stone’s throw away from one another.
Also, you will receive a lot more for your money when you come to Liverpool, in comparison to London. The capital city is notoriously expensive for accommodation, food, drink and transport, whilst Liverpool offers value for money hotels, restaurants, bars and affordable public transport.
Liverpool and Manchester are friendly local rivals. For many years, Liverpool had been overshadowed by the larger Manchester, but the city is now becoming a force to be reckoned with. What we lack in size, we make up for in impressive culture. Similar to London, much of Manchester’s best landmarks are spread out, whilst you can tick attractions off your list with ease as you walk around our city.
While Manchester might have Oasis, Liverpool has The Beatles. Manchester might have a pretty canal, but we have the River Mersey. Manchester does offer a beautiful cathedral, but Liverpool has two. Anything Manchester can do, Liverpool can do better. Yes, Manchester has plenty to shout about, but Liverpool doesn’t need to shout; our history, architecture, attractions and people are famous in their own right.
The Key to Liverpool’s Tourism Growth
I am fortunate enough to have extensive experience in the hospitality sector, providing local jobs and tourism attractions that directly and indirectly benefit the Liverpool City Region. Tourism has the potential to stabilise our economy, as it will attract people from across the world and the UK to explore our exceptional landmarks. The UK’s visitor economy has grown exponentially over the past few years. According to Visit Britain, the tourism industry is expected to be worth £257 billion by 2025, and will support 3.8 million jobs nationwide.
In 2015, 13.6 million people visited the North West of England. According the Mott McDonald’s report on 30 James Street, “on average, between 2012 and 2015, 1.4 million trips were taken to Liverpool, and 0.6 million to the rest of Merseyside. From these trips, over 3 million nights were spent in Liverpool, of which over a third were spent by holiday visitors.”
Without a doubt, the reason so many people chose to travel to Liverpool each year is due to our extensive heritage. Our 800 year history is as intriguing as it is inspiring, because our beautiful city has not only shaped our culture, but has made an impact on the rest of the world through our maritime trade, pivotal role in the Battle of the Atlantic, music history and world firsts.
The industrial revolution was a defining era for Liverpool, as the city became an international hub for trade, offering crossings to and from the Atlantic Ocean and Ireland, with 40% of the world’s cargo passing through the city’s docks in the 19th century, which resulted in employment, growth and international status.
Our Architectural Heritage
Liverpool is a prime example of how tourism can have a significant impact on a city region. In 2015, it was announced that Liverpool was the sixth most visited city in the UK, with over 600,000 inbound international visitors. Domestic visitors are also keen to explore our city. According to Liverpool Vision, Liverpool has been ranked 7th in the list of top English towns and cities visited by residents of Great Britain, both in visitors and spend. Liverpool Vision has therefore estimated that the city has a tourism value of £3.8 billion to the city region’s economy.
Our maritime trade led to the multicultural community we know and love today, with people from all corners of the globe travelling to Liverpool from Ireland, North America, the Caribbean, Africa, China, Russia and other cities across the UK. Liverpool gained the respect of the world, which is why beautiful structures such as St George’s Hall, Lime Street Station and the Congressional were built to reflect the city’s global status.
Liverpool, like its people, has the power to bounce back from adversity. The city has had to adapt to new industrial bases emerging in an ever-changing world; however, it is our history that has defined the city that stands today, with beautiful architecture, countless stories and a sense of pride instilled in the hearts of every Liverpudlian. Our historic buildings are a standing monument of our past, which is why UNESCO designated the Liverpool Waterfront as a World Heritage Site in 2004, which celebrates our international influence, whilst inspiring a new future for the city that builds on our history. Many buildings have now become a tourist attraction themselves, such as the Royal Liver Building, Cunard Building, Port of Liverpool Building and 30 James Street.
Historic Buildings with a Difference
I have witnessed the rise in the city’s tourism with my own eyes, as Signature Living has quickly become the largest hotel provider in Liverpool. Due to demand for luxury hotels in Liverpool city centre, we have grown our hotel portfolio significantly since we began work on our first property in 2004.
The Mott McDonald report, which looked at 30 James Street’s economic impact on the LCR economy in 2015, stated: “Since it opened its doors in 2014, the hotel’s popularity has been rising with occupancy rates higher by 12.2% in 2015/16, compared to the previous year, while in 2015 it had an occupancy rate of 92%.
I am thrilled to have restored and regenerated a number of historic properties into luxurious hotels, such as 30 James Street and The Shankly Hotel, which are tourist attractions in their own right. I have also introduced a proposed plan to restore Liverpool’s Croxteth Hall. As stated earlier, Liverpool has more Grade II* listed buildings, outside of London, than any other city in the UK, which means there are a number of buildings lying empty, subject to dereliction and ruin.
I honestly believe that hotels inspired by their history have the power to attract tourists into the city, as I have seen it for myself with 30 James Street, which was once RMS Titanic’s port of registry and is the reason Liverpool is synonymous with the famous liner.
The Mott McDonald report also stated: “Each month, 30 James Street has almost 4,700 overnight guests, or an average of 156 guests per night. Given the unique offering the 30 James Street Hotel brings to Liverpool and the City Region, it is likely that a substantive amount, approximately 75%, of this average daily intake of 156 guests, equating to 117 additional guests, may not otherwise have come to the city.”
Investment in our many historic buildings has the potential to catapult Liverpool to the next level, allowing the city to soon make its way into the top 5 most visited cities in the UK.
The city isn’t just ideal for those looking to visit for leisure – as there are so many reasons to visit on business, or maybe even bring your business to Liverpool.
As Liverpool is smaller than other big cities, such as London and Manchester, it has, in the past, been overlooked as a business destination; however, in a move that is not out of character with my city, Liverpool is now proving that we have what it takes to become a world class business destination.
The Mott McDonald report, mentioned earlier, commented: “Liverpool is increasingly attractive to visitors who want to combine work or leisure with exploring the historic city.”
Liverpool has received significant investment over the past decade and, as any respectable business person knows, investment leads to investment. Investment leads to regeneration – and regeneration leads to a stronger economy and more jobs for local residents. I am proud to be part of my city’s growth – and I firmly believe Liverpool offers so much more than the likes of our big city rivals, as stated previously.
This year, more than 30,000 delegates travelled to the International Business Festival 2016, which is the UK’s biggest-ever business festival. The event allowed buyers, investors, suppliers and technology partners to enjoy a free business networking event, which could potentially help companies to drive their businesses forward, and also offered 70 fantastic conferences and seminars from influential experts.
Helen Johnson of the Liverpool Culture Company said: “Liverpool has changed so much. People like me, people who are young and ambitious, used to have to leave Liverpool to be successful. That’s just not true anymore.”
The Liverpool people once knew has gone. What stands now is an inspiring, passionate and innovative city, which, in my opinion, can only get better.
Liverpool’s Fight for 5th Most Visited City
As I mentioned a little earlier, Liverpool is currently the 6th most visited city in the UK by international tourists. However, I believe we have the culture, community and characters to overtake Glasgow, which is currently in 5th place and is a city akin with Liverpool. However, if our city has proved anything in recent years, it’s that we are unstoppable. If we face an obstacle, we will find a way to jump, climb or burrow through it.
While we might be number six now, there is no reason why we won’t be number 5 next year or the year after that. We are a city on the rise, which means the only way for Liverpool is up.