VISITOR BOOM FOR 08 CITY
Liverpool’s European Capital of Culture celebrations are on course for a record breaking year, according to the latest visitor figures.
In the first quarter of ’08 more than 2 million people attended a cultural event or venue across the city – a staggering 30% up on 2007.
And in March alone the city’s attractions welcomed more than 1 million people through its doors – not including the Grand National or football matches.
The rise in visitor figures from January 1 – March 31 are also treble what had been predicted, with some venues recording a 50% growth on 2007.
In the same period Liverpool’s tourist information centres (08 place, Albert Dock and airport) had more than 150,000 visitors and enquires are up by over 100% on 2007.
The city has also received unprecedented media coverage and has hosted over 500 journalists in the first quarter, with more than 2,700 articles in UK print media alone.
Liverpool 08 is also generating extensive international print and broadcast coverage in titles such as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Le Figaro, Stern Magazine, National Geographic, Sydney Morning Herald and Kuwait Times.
Bryan Gray, chairman of Liverpool Culture Company, said the city had received a massive boost from the opening weekend to ‘08.
He added: ‘’Liverpool had a hugely successful opening which received great coverage all around the world. The interest has been phenomenal and has created a momentum which is very encouraging for the city post ’08. These figures are just rewards for everyone who has worked on improving Liverpool’s cultural offer over the past 10 years.’’
Visitor figures are expected to keep on rising with the onset of summer and some of the most prestigious events of the year still to take place.
The Gustav Klimt exhibition at Tate Liverpool opens on May 30, and “Art in the Age of Steam”, featuring paintings by Van Gogh, Turner and Monet, at the Walker Art Gallery, opens on Friday.
More than 350 events, many of them free, are being staged for the city’s 08 celebrations. Other blockbusters still to come include the Liverpool Sound concert at Anfield on June 1, The Tall Ships Races on July 18-21 and the MTV Europe Music Awards in November.
Phil Redmond, Creative Director of Liverpool Culture Company, said: ‘’To have so many people experiencing culture in what is traditionally the quietest time of the year is simply fantastic. These figures show people are engaging enthusiastically in ‘08 and that is a huge vote of confidence in the culture programme which we and our partners have worked tremendously hard put together. It really sets the stage for the rest of the year. People almost have no excuse not to try something new.”
Selected cultural events/attractions/venues – Jan 1 – March 31 2008 (% comparison to 07):
* National Museums Liverpool – 589,184 (up 40%)
* Empire Theatre – 172,665 (up 20%)
* Tate Liverpool – 154,242 visitors (up 21%)
* FACT – 114,594 (up 18.5%)
* Anglican Cathedral – 111,000 (up 39%)
* Arena & Convention Centre – 102,373 (n/a)
* Metropolitan Cathedral – 70,491 (up 27.5%)
* Liverpool Philharmonic – 65,292
* The Cavern – 61,200 (up 14%)
* Royal Court – 44,919 (up 57%)
* Beatles Story – 41,771 (up 36.6%)
* The People’s Opening – 40,000 (n/a)
* LFC Museum – 39,000 (up 25%)
* St George’s Hall – 33,390 (n/a)
* Everyman & Playhouse – 23,000 (up 31%)
* Sefton Park Palm House – 19,100 (up 25%)
* Yellow Duckmarine – 13,000 (up 62%)
Note: The Bluecoat registered 10,000 people on its opening weekend alone.