Liverpool is a great place to visit with attractions littered throughout the city. Liverpool has more museums and galleries than any other UK city outside of the capital. Liverpool was the fifth most-visited city in the UK by international visitors before Covid-19 hit.

It is evident that the impact of Covid-19 upon the visitor economy, tourism, leisure, and culture of the city has been and will be very significant. The visitor economy has been one of the great success stories of the Liverpool City Region (LCR) during the past 15 years. 10% of the workforce is employed in the industry, and it attracts 60 million visitors and contributes £4.9 billion in Gross Value Added (GVA) to the LCR economy.

Here, we explain some of the top trends in the Liverpool tourism industry.

Covid-19 and the Liverpool Tourism Industry

The past 40 years were very difficult for Liverpool in terms of crises as the city has faced and weathered – many economic, social, and political crises besides riots, revolt, and rebellion during the renaissance. But the COVID-19 pandemic is above all and it is bigger than any of the recent crises the city has faced.

This pandemic has affected many industries but the tourism industry is the most affected industry and this pandemic has raised questions about the sustainability of the city’s recent achievements and its capacity to cope with travel and tourism challenges in the future.

This pandemic has had a dramatic impact on Liverpool’s world-renowned visitor economy. However, now in 2022, the pandemic situation is getting stabilized. Liverpool has outlined a plan to bounce back from a “seismic” blow to its famous tourism industry during the coronavirus pandemic. The city has shown great resilience and with the help of more than £45m of Combined Authority funding, we are already bouncing back. Hopefully, this strategy will enable the entire city region to compete with other parts of the UK and abroad.

Pre- and post-pandemic trends in Liverpool

  1. Liverpool was the fifth most-visited city in the UK by international visitors before Covid hit.
  2. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the value of the Liverpool city region’s visitor economy was more than £5bn per year.
  3. The tourism sector can take three years to recover completely to its previous position.
  4. Liverpool City Region’s 7,840 tourism-related businesses took a 58% hit in 2020. The region includes Liverpool, Halton in Cheshire, Knowsley, Wirral, Sefton, and St Helens.
  5. The city’s visitor economy was in a good position to bounce back from the pandemic and pointed to large demand from people visiting from within the UK.
  6. Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram has unveiled a plan to help the city region’s tourism industry recover from the seismic shock of Covid-19.
  7. Steve Rotheram has proposed a recovery strategy to rebuild, restructure and retrain the tourism industry.
  8. The mayor has a plan to help the £5 billion annual economy recover from a £3bn hit in 2020.
  9. He has diverted £3.1m in strategic funding to rebuild the “decimated” conference and events sector.
  10. £3.2m funding is specified for the leisure and business destination marketing plan.
  11. The new skills action plan is being implemented to help businesses recruit and retain staff.

Tourism Industry Insight

  1. Liverpool is now well-established as one of Europe’s top twenty favourite cities to visit.
  2. There are no restrictions on domestic travel across the UK to Liverpool.
  3. The New Liverpool destination sign celebrates the city’s tourism demand. This major piece of artwork to symbolise Liverpool’s growing popularity as a must-see city has been unveiled.
  4. The is a giant sign, which is 14.5 metres in length, and it has been commissioned by Liverpool ONE and Culture Liverpool to mark a predicted increase in tourism as people are looking forward to better times ahead and moving out of restrictions.
  5. Currently, this sign is white in colour with its font designed by Liverpool-based Liz Harry, the sign is set to be transformed with various designs from local artists throughout the year.
  6. In 2021, Liverpool out-performed many of the UK’s cities, with visitor numbers to the city centre an impressive 20% higher than the national average.
  7. Steve Rotheram’s strategy of recovery plans to use public and private sector investment for marketing and to support major venues in bidding for conferences and events.
  8. Destination Management Plan for 2018/19-2022/23 has a strategic direction to promote Liverpool as a core visitor destination through increased engagement and support from locals.
  9. Local businesses, groups, and organizations are now being supported to build and develop the visitor economy and their tourism products.
  10. New businesses, events, and investments are attracted to engage locals and increase visitation to Liverpool.
  11. Liverpool is on the way to leveraging existing and emerging assets to grow Liverpool’s visitor economy.
  12. The web presence of local offerings is increased to support the growth of the visitor economy.
  13. Core partnerships and networks are being established which will contribute to a sustainable visitor economy.

Contribution of Liverpool Tourism

  1. Liverpool’s economy relies heavily on visitors to its popular museums, clubs, and Beatles exhibitions and heritage sites.
  2. The Visitor Economy is worth £4.9bn and supports over 55,500 jobs.
  3. In 2018, Liverpool City Region welcomed over 67.3m visitors to the region – a 5%increase from the previous year. This comprised 61m day visitors (up 5.1%) and 5.5m staying visitors (up 3.8%).
  4. Serviced apartments in Liverpool have a higher than average occupancy rate than those in other cities outside of London. 
  5. The popularity of serviced apartments in the Liverpool Serviced apartments nationwide reported an average occupancy rate of 81.7% which is rising year on year.
  6. In 2018, stays at serviced accommodation rose by 5.9% to 2.8m – the economic impact from this alone rose by 6.4% and for the first time hit over £1bn.
  7. In Liverpool alone, there was a 5% increase in the number of staying visitors (2.7m) including a 6% increase in serviced accommodation days.
  8. More than 60 million people visit the cultural, musical, and sporting landmarks of Liverpool that make up this vibrant region every year.
  9. Liverpool Country Region overall tourism value is £2.10bn in which Liverpool value is £1,439, Sefton value is £258, Wirral value is £175, and St. Helens, Halton & Knowsley value is £228
  10. An estimated 840,000 people visit Liverpool to follow in the footsteps of The Beatles each year.

What’s great in Liverpool for visitors

  1. Liverpool is swiftly gaining a reputation for the vibrancy and breadth of choice of its food scene.
  2. Visitors can find dishes from Russia, Africa, the United States, Canada, Brazil, Vietnam, and Mexico to name but a few, from high-end fine dining to street food.
  3. Food and drink festivals are a regular on the city’s calendar.
  4. Liverpool is fast becoming known as the ‘Hollywood of the North’ with stars of TV and the silver screen and well-known directors queuing up to use the city as a backdrop. 
  5. Liverpool has more museums, theatres, and galleries than anywhere outside London.
  6. The city’s Walker Art Gallery is considered one of the 20 greatest galleries for Victorian art in the world. 

Other tourism industry trends

  1. In 2017, Liverpool was voted the kindest city in the UK in a survey by hotel chain Travelodge.
  2. Conde Nast Traveller has twice ranked Liverpool as the UK’s friendliest city.
  3. There is the arrival of a new food festival, Taste Liverpool, Drink Bordeaux, on June 5, 2022, and the World Gymnastics Championships coming to the city in the autumn.
  4. The multimillion-pound Shakespeare North Playhouse is also due to open in nearby Prescot in summer 2022, completing a Shakespearean triangle with Stratford-upon-Avon and London.
  5. The Beatles is Liverpool’s most famous musical export.
  6. Three of the city’s most iconic buildings (Liverpool Town Hall, St George’s Hall, and Croxteth Hall) have now joined forces to embrace a pioneering new booking system.
  7. OPTIMO, a multi-award-winning venue, event, and facilities software provider is being used for booking. This is the latest innovation, and with this booking system, seeing these three spaces’ historic beauty has become infinitely more accessible to both residents and visitors.
  8. Now, the Liverpool city landmark has been named as one of the best value for the money in the UK.
  9. The Baltic Farm is a community-embedded urban farm and cultural events space in the city centre.
  10. The Baltic Farm has transformed the urban landscape of the Baltic Triangle to bring a sense of community to the area, building a local food network and creating jobs.
  11. Liverpool Castle is the castle in Liverpool that was built to protect King John’s new port, and was sited at the top of what is now Lord Street, offering the highest point in the city overlooking “the Pool”.
  12. There are hidden vaults beneath the city centre in Liverpool, an arched vault sits below ground level near Pier Head towards Water Street.

References

https://www.liverpoolcityregion-ca.gov.uk/metro-mayor-steve-rotheram-unveils-plan-to-help-city-region-tourism-industry-recover-from-seismic-shock-of-covid/

https://www.liverpool.ac.uk/media/livacuk/publicpolicyamppractice/covid-19/Parkinson-2020-is-liverpool-back-on-the-brink.pdf

https://www.liverpool-one.com/its-a-sign-of-a-great-2022-ahead/

https://lbndaily.co.uk/mersey-tourism-will-take-three-years-to-recover/

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-merseyside-60492673

https://growthplatform.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Tourism-Data-Summary-June-2021-1.pdf

https://kingfishervisitorguides.com/features/top-10-reasons-to-visit-liverpool/

https://kingfishervisitorguides.com/features/think-you-know-liverpool-think-again/

https://www.cultureliverpool.co.uk/news/tourism-figures-continue-to-climb/

https://www.liverpool.nsw.gov.au/trim/documents?RecordNumber=054794.2019-002#:~:text=The%20Destination%20Management%20Plan%20is,visitor%20economy%20in%20the%20City.

https://travelweekly.co.uk/destinations/5-reasons-to-visit-liverpool-2022

https://liverpoolexpress.co.uk/liverpools-historic-city-halls-launch-pioneering-new-booking-system/

https://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/whats-on/whats-on-news/24-things-liverpool-seriously-surprise-17105878