'Culture vultures' hit UK in 2008

Liverpool has been preparing to become European Capital of Culture

"Culture vultures" eager to take in Britain's events, museums and galleries will swell tourist numbers to the UK in 2008, VisitBritain has said.

The tourism body said Liverpool, as 2008's European Capital of Culture, the Olympic build-up and other events are set to attract extra visitors.

Liverpool is expected to welcome two million additional tourists with a calendar of more than 300 events.

VisitBritain has launched Culture 08 to promote such events across the UK.

'Cultural Olympiad'

According to the organisation, almost two-thirds of potential visitors to the UK would be "very likely" to visit galleries or museums, with 49% very likely to go to live music concerts or events and 37% to the theatre, opera or ballet.

When asked what was their preferred kind of holiday, 22% of Britons said cultural and 19% said events such as sporting occasions and musicals.

The London Olympics build-up will begin after the games in Beijing

More than a third said they visited museums while on holiday, 22% said they went to concerts, while 19% said they attended the theatre.

As well as Liverpool becoming European Capital of Culture next year, London will also take up the Olympic torch from Beijing following the summer's games in China.

This will begin a four-year "cultural Olympiad" until the opening of the London Olympics in 2012.

Kate Ellwood, Enjoy England campaign manager, said the Culture 08 campaign was an "opportunity to shine the spotlight on the wealth of exciting events" taking place across the UK.

She added: "We want to encourage our visitors to create their own cultural calendar of events, exhibitions, shows and scenes and get out and about enjoying short breaks in their own country."

BBC Liverpool