A new report reveals 2014 was a bumper year for Culture Liverpool – events brought in £55million to the local economy, funding secured nearly 1,500 jobs and a record number of wedding ceremonies took place at St George’s Hall.
A review, to be presented to the Culture and Tourism Select Committee on Tuesday (3 February), looks at the achievements of the city council’s culture department which is responsible for events, attracting sponsors, Tourist Information Centres, the Cruise Liner Terminal, Liverpool Film Office and the running of St George’s Hall and Liverpool Town Hall.
It found that three of 2014’s major events – the giant spectacular Memories of August 1914, International Mersey River Festival including Music on the Waterfront and Liverpool International Music Festival- brought 1.4 million people, with 173,000 coming from outside of the North West and 34,000 from overseas.
The report also reflects on other events delivered by Culture Liverpool – Chinese New Year celebrations, Rock n Roll Marathon, Tour of Britain and Sky Ride – which were not independently evaluated but would have further boosted the visitor and economic impact figures.
Other 2014 achievements include:
£3.2million invested in 41 of the city’s cultural organisations, safeguarding 1,345 jobs and levering further investment, resulting in a turnover of £33 million.
272 film and TV productions filmed in the city, which added up to 795 film days, bringing in £10.7 million to the local economy.
Liverpool Cruise Terminal welcomed 50 cruise liners, 50,000 passengers and 28,000 crew and was awarded best UK Port of Call by the Cruise Critic Awards.
The commercial team who work with the public and private sector to secure funding for events brought in £264,000 and £1.8 million of value-in-kind support.
More than 1,000 wedding ceremonies took place at St George’s Hall and the Hall itself welcomed 250,000 visitors.
Liverpool Town Hall hosted 327 events.
The Tourist Information Centres welcomed nearly 250,000 visitors, with a new centre opening in Liverpool Lime Street Station.
Nearly 200,000 people follow Culture Liverpool on Twitter and Facebook
Assistant Mayor and Cabinet Member for Culture, Events and Tourism, Councillor Wendy Simon, said: “This report highlights just how important culture is to Liverpool.
“From events that boost the local economy by millions and bring in record numbers of visitors, right through to supporting local arts organisations and facilitating a wide variety of filming in the city – Culture Liverpool’s contribution has a vital impact on the city as a whole.
“We always knew that 2014 would be a big year in terms of events with the return of the giants, but it’s reassuring to see other parts of the culture portfolio thrive. Cruise liner visits are on the increase, more people than ever are choosing to get married in the city gem that is St George’s Hall and we’re continuing to support our local and grassroots arts organisations which are an essential part of this city’s cultural fabric.”
As well as achievements, the report also identifies future plans which include:
To utilise the city’s assets and continue to provide a wide and diverse programme of events.
To increase the number of cruise liners coming to the city and maximise the length of their stay.
Develop the TV and film infrastructure in the city to act as an incentive for more producers to choose Liverpool as a filming destination.
Identify a temporary parking site to enhance the existing coach welcome scheme.
Position St George’s Hall as a venue for wedding breakfasts.
Re-establish Liverpool Town Hall as one of the city’s leading venues, following 18 months of essential stone work repairs.
Director of Culture, Claire McColgan said: “Although it’s often the events that get all the attention, they form only part of an incredible arts ecology in this city.
“The grassroots and major arts organisations provide a year-long cultural offer that is world class.
“The visitor economy is thriving and we are leading the way in using culture as a driver for growth.
“Liverpool is an incredibly ambitious thought provoking international place and an inspirational canvass for all artists, creative and entrepreneurs. And 2015 promises to build on this, with shipsâ¦lots of them!”