Sea Odyssey

Cultural boost to city’s economy

Major cultural events in Liverpool generated £73 million for the local economy in 2012.

That is the finding of a new independent report, which has looked into the impact of five Culture Liverpool events:

  • Sea Odyssey – 20-22 April
  • Olympic Torch Relay – 1 June
  • Music on the Waterfront – 20-21 July
  • Mathew Street Music Festival – 26 August
  • Irish Sea Tall Ships Regatta – 30 August-2 September

The giant spectacular Sea Odyssey made the biggest impact – attracting 800,000 visitors and generating spending of more than £46million. It is officially the most successful event ever held in the city.

Despite this year’s Mathew Street Music Festival being a one-day event due to extreme weather, crowds came out in force and 180,000 people descended on the city centre. They spent a total of £20million – the same as during the two-day festival in 2011.

The impact of London 2012 was also felt in the city. The study reveals that 125,000 people lined the streets to cheer on local torch bearers taking part in the Olympic Torch Relay, and 23,000 descended on the Pier Head to take part in the evening celebration which featured the Wombats in a special homecoming gig, and local hero Craig Lundberg lighting the Olympic cauldron. The event brought in £2.5million to the city.

Other figures show:

  •  Music on the WaterfrontThe two night Music on the Waterfront event, which saw the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Russell Watson, Paul Carrick and Joe McElderry perform, pulled in crowds of 24,000 and generated £2.3million.
  • The Irish Sea Tall Ships Regatta attracted 70,000 people and brought in £2.1million.

The average visitor spend was £38.82 per person. People staying overnight in the city spent an average £27.65 per person on accommodation. More than half the visitors (53.2per cent) were from outside of Liverpool.

And the city’s events were also given a ringing endorsement by people who attended. Almost all of those interviewed for the report – 94.5 percent – described the event they were attending as very good/good, with 97 per cent of people saying they would recommend a Liverpool event to friends and family.

Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson said: “Liverpool’s reputation for staging outstanding, free outdoor events is second to none and 2012 has been no exception.

“One of the great things about this year is that two of the major events took place in areas outside the city centre – Sea Odyssey shone a spotlight on north Liverpool and the iconic Olympic torch travelled through many of our communities.

“It’s important never to underestimate the value of cultural events, not only do they bring in huge economic benefits, but this year’s programme has supported nearly 1,500 jobs which, in this current climate, is extremely valuable.

“And of course you can’t put a price on making art accessible to all – it brings communities together and builds positive relationships which is priceless.”

Liverpool City Council’s cabinet member for culture and tourism, Councillor Wendy Simon, said: “This report highlights the important role cultural events play, not only in terms of bringing much-needed money into the local economy, but also in engaging and inspiring people from across the city.

“It’s encouraging that despite the tough economic times, people still value culture and come onto the streets in their tens of thousands to enjoy high-calibre events, and at the same time spend money in our cafes, shops, bars, hotels and restaurants.

“2012 was of course an exceptional year as the city welcomed and fell in love with three giant visitors as part of the Sea Odyssey spectacular and an Olympic torch lit up many of our communities – the financial impact was welcomed and I’m sure both these events will live long in the memory of those lucky enough to have been part of them.”

Mathew Street Music Festival and Music on the Waterfront were both funded by Liverpool City Council in partnership with the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). Sea Odyssey was funded by a combination of Capital of Culture 2008 legacy funding and private and public sector sponsorship.


Liverpool Waterfront