Liverpool?s tenure as the UK?s European Capital of Culture 2008 has generated an ?800m boost to the regional economy, it was revealed today.
The Liverpool Culture Company said the bonanza was fuelled by the city welcoming 3.5m first time visitors in ?08 - 25% of all tourists - generating ?176m alone in tourism spend.
Liverpool?s tourism sector has boomed with a record 1m hotel beds sold in the city and average occupancy rates at an all time high of 77% over the year.
The Liverpool ?08 events programme, which included The Opening Weekend, The Tall Ships? Races, The Turner Prize, The Stirling Prize, MTV Europe Music Awards, The Beat Goes On and Art In The Age of Steam, Liverpool Biennial, Sir Paul McCartney?s Liverpool Sound concert, exhibitions on Gustav Klimt and Le Corbusier, Go Superlambananas and La Machine ? the spectacular 50ft spider - attracted 5.2m people to the city.
Liverpool?s Capital of Culture programme also helped generate 15m visits to cultural venues and events since January 1, recording an average 30% rise on 2007 ? with cultural attractions across Merseyside reporting a similar increase.
Two major winners are Tate Liverpool and Merseyside Maritime Museum. The Albert Dock venues each attracted more than 1m people for the first time in a calendar year ? recording a combined 65% increase on last year.
And according to market research 70% of people in Liverpool visited a museum or gallery in 08. The UK average is 59%.
The city has risen up the UK league table as the third favourite city to visit, according to a Cond? Nast readers poll.
The Liverpool Culture Company has produced a 92-page report chronicling the highlights and the impact of the year which involved more than 10,000 artists, 160,000 participants and 67,000 schoolchildren across 7,000 events in more than 1,000 venues.
Liverpool has also experienced unprecedented media coverage which has been calculated to be worth more than ?200m globally. More than 12,000 articles have appeared in the UK press, with more than 20 hours of primetime programming on the ?08 year across the major TV platforms alone.
The city has been hailed for producing the most effective and memorable Capital of Culture containing 60 World and European premieres in music, film, theatre and art, with 30 new commissions by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra.
And the European Union now considers Liverpool to have set a template for future Capital of Cultures. In 2008 the city welcomed more than 100 international delegations to see how it delivered the year.
This week Phil Redmond, Creative Director of Liverpool Culture Company, announced he will lead a new independent body, called The Cultural Collective, to ensure arts bodies across the region continue to work together.
Phil is also directing the final official Capital of Culture event: Transition ? The People?s Celebration. This will be held on Saturday, January 10 at Liverpool?s Pier Head from 6pm-7pm, 12 months to the day the city officially launched its ?08 year.
A final report will be published in summer 2009 by the Impacts 08 research programme at University of Liverpool and John Moores University. This team will then publish a paper on Liverpool?s research, framework and management models for 2008 as a reference source for cities and major cultural programmes.
Liverpool Daily Post