LIVERPOOL is celebrating a record-breaking 10m cultural visits to the city?s attractions so far this year.
The success of 08 has now been set as a benchmark for all European Capitals of Culture, with Jose Mauel Barroso, president of the European Commission, declaring it ?one of the most successful we have ever had.?
And as the final quarter of the Capital of Culture celebrations begins, Merseyside?s economy is preparing to smash through the ?1bn mark, as the success of Liverpool 08 sees unprecedented visitors to the city?s major attractions.
A surge in cultural tourism has seen Liverpool rise in UK league tables to the third favourite city to visit and the fourth most visited. And figures from January to September 30 this year show that more than a quarter of all these international and national visitors were in the city for the first time.
Phil Redmond, Creative Director of Liverpool Culture Company said: ?The people?s reaction to our Capital of Culture year has been phenomenal.
?They have voted with their feet and powerfully demonstrated that the city?s creative sector is a real force to be reckoned with.
?Liverpool is building on its international reputation for creativity that is in all our interest to maintain and develop.?
One of the major success stories is Tate Liverpool, which saw a spectacular 200% visitor rise on 2007 between June to August with the specially commissioned Gustav Klimt exhibition.
The Albert Dock venue is up 45% on the first nine months of 2007, and is expected to break through the 1m mark for the first time in its history in the next week.
Major visual art attractions in the city such as The Walker, the Bluecoat, FACT and new Victoria Museum and Gallery, have together attracted over 2.5m visitors so far in 08 ? with the Liverpool Biennial still to run for another six weeks.
The city?s Summer events programme which included The Tall Ships Races, Mathew Street Music Festival and Go Superlambananas and La Machine attracted a further 2.5m people to the city.
National Museums Liverpool(NML) has also set new records welcoming its two millionth visitor in September ? surpassing the number attracted throughout the whole of 2007.
Merseyside Maritime Museum, the Walker and National Conservation Centre are all up over 60%-70% on 2007.
David Fleming, Director of NML, said: ?I was in the Walker Art Gallery over the weekend where hundreds of people of all ages took part in the Big Draw with Ben Johnson.