22 August 2011

Liverpool enjoys tourism boom: So why close its TIC?

According to The Mersey Partnership – the organization responsible for developing and promoting Liverpool City Region as an ideal place to invest, live, work and stay - the local visitor economy supports some 41,000 job.

Several long-standing clients of LDS Tourism Services in Liverpool have experienced spectacular growth over the last few years and we are proud to have played our part in their success. During 2010, Merseyside Maritime Museum received 1,027,475 visits, up from 946,699 the year before (a rise of 8.5%) and World Museum Liverpool had a 23.4% rise in visitors, from 606,394 in 2009 to 748,065. Earlier this month, VisitBritain announced that both museums had been named in the top 20 free visitor attractions in Britain.

The Museum of Liverpool is the new kid on the block – officially opening to the public on 19th July. Yet, within two weeks, it had welcomed over 150,000 people through its doors (averaging 12,500 visitors a day), including Yoko Ono, the widow of John Lennon – and by mid August it was celebrating its first quarter million. It has since been nominated for World Building of the Year 2011.

In spite of Liverpool’s undeniable popularity with both British and overseas visitors, the council announced earlier this month that the City’s flagship Tourist Information Centre would close down as part of budget cutbacks. This astonishing development has caused a huge amount of consternation – understandable when one considers that “more room nights were sold in Liverpool city centre during the first six months of 2010 than in 2009 or 2008” (Tourism Scene, Issue 16).

Liverpool City Council leader, Joe Anderson, recently described Liverpool as a "world-class destination” and, as we reported in Swift Flyer only last month, an official strategy document estimated that the City’s tourism industry is likely to be worth £2 billion by 2020. 

Liverpool’s 08 Place is due to close on 31st October 2011. If you have concerns regarding this issue, Julie Kershaw, owner of Liverpool Entente Cordiale Tours has set up a page on Facebook called: Liverpool needs a city centre Tourist Office. Here she eloquently explains the importance of a City centre TIC and keeps followers abreast of the latest developments.

What are your views on the closure of Liverpool’s main TIC (or indeed, other tourism offices in the region) and how do you think it will affect the local economy in the long term? Please tell us what you think by posting your comments on this blog.

Image: The Albert Dock © Britainonview / Ingrid Rasmussen

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