Lord Hall and Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram

BLOG: A partnership approach to tourism

They say time flies when you are having fun – which is why it is hard to believe that it has already been a year since the Liverpool City Region played host to Eurovision.

For two weeks last May, our area became a backdrop to the most incredible celebration of music, culture and unadulterated fun.

It was a party that the world will never forget and, even 12 months on, I’m not sure the glitter has fully settled.

As unique as it was, Eurovision reinforced much of what we already knew. The Liverpool City Region is a national and international destination of choice, renowned for its unbeatable culture, music, sport, hospitality, a warm welcome – and much more.

Today, our visitor economy is worth more than £5bn a year, passing its pre-pandemic high, and supports more than 50,000 jobs.

As Mayor, it is my job to ensure that we continue our recovery and turn it into sustainable growth, creating more quality jobs for local people.

Fortunately, our recent successes have meant that we have been able to attract one of the country’s leading cultural figures to help turbocharge this work over the next few years.

Yesterday we announced that Lord Tony Hall CBE, former Director-General of the BBC, has been appointed to chair a pioneering new partnership designed to promote our region’s unique cultural offer.

Quite simply, Lord Hall is a heavyweight in his field. From his decades of experience at the BBC, to his roles with the Royal Opera House and Channel 4, I believe he represents the beacon of creativity that our area needs to supercharge our cultural credentials.

He will be joined by a 15-strong team of national and regional board members who bring expertise from the worlds of sport, film, music, hospitality, retail and leisure. They will be tasked with championing our area as the destination to visit, invest and stage major events.

I am really excited to have Lord Hall onboard and, coming from Birkenhead, I know he will understand the needs and priorities of our area better than most.

Equally importantly, the partnership is backed by all our local authorities, so we are all pulling in the same direction with a shared vision. Together, we are using the powers we have wrestled from government to build on our unique cultural foundation and shape our own narrative.

We have demonstrated that cultural investment has a massive multiplier effect – but we cannot achieve our ambitions unless we continue to invest. The brand new Shakespeare North Playhouse is an iconic example of partnership working in practice. That is why I have pledged to double our amount of ringfenced culture spending to 2%, to ensure we can continue to grow our burgeoning creative industries.

And that’s not all.

Working with local cultural organisations, I will make sure that we channel funding towards enabling our young people to access cultural activities and, hopefully, inspire an entire new generation of talent to support the thriving cultural sector we are building.

Because for all the investments we are making, none of it would be possible without the creativity and ingenuity of our residents.

Our rich talent pool means that people don’t need to travel to London or to Paris to see amazing events. 

It is all available here, in our own back yard.

We have shown how culture can be a catalyst for so much.

To anyone who still dares to question its value, I would say come to the Liverpool City Region – this is place where we turn doubters into believers.

Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region

Find out more about the Local Visitor Economy Partnership Board.

Liverpool Waterfront