VISITORS to the three biggest Capital of Culture events of the summer will spend £70m in Liverpool, it was predicted today.
So far this year, more than five million people have travelled to Merseyside to enjoy events like Sir Paul McCartney’s Anfield gig and the St George’s Hall opening ceremony.
But council bosses believe the next three big dates on the 2008 calendar will eclipse all estimates of the cultural celebrations’ economic impact.
Spending at the Tall Ships Race will be close to £26m.
The Mathew Street festival will generate at least £32m.
The top-secret La Machine event will attract spending of £12m.
Liverpool council today insisted its economic predictions showed the expense of hosting Capital of Culture was well worth it.
Critics have questioned whether the city is getting value for money, pointing to examples like the increased cost of hosting Sir Paul’s Liverpool Sound event.
But council leader Warren Bradley said: “We said we would bring world-class events to the city and let community groups rub shoulders with them. People have got hung up on whether something costs £1.5m or £1.7m, but for every pound we spend, we get 20-30% extra back because of our ability to attract visitors.
Councillors are due to question the cost of some culture events at tomorrow’s council meeting.
LA Machine is still shrouded in secrecy but it is understand it will take the form of a mechanical creature, similar to the “Sultan’s Elephant” which captivated a million Londoners when it toured the capital two years ago.
The event is costing the council £1.8m, but it is predicted a million spectators will spend £12m when it arrives in September.