Latest figures show Liverpool City Region’s Visitor Economy is now worth over £4.9bn, last year welcomed 67.3m visitors to the region and supports over 57,000 jobs.
These findings are contained in the latest independent research for 2018 commissioned by the Visitor Economy Team at Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).
Liverpool itself has seen huge growth in visitor numbers in 2018, with 38m people visiting the city last year – a 7.4% rise – as the city celebrated 10 years since it was European Capital of Culture with a huge programme of events.
The value of tourism in the city now sits at £3.3bn per year, a rise of almost 10% on last year’s figures. This success is translated into jobs, with the sector employing 38,000 people.
The figures reflect a bumper year for visitors, with major events such as the Terracotta Warriors at World Museum and the culmination of the Giants trilogy, as well as the opening of several new attractions.
Deputy Mayor and Cabinet member for culture, Councillor Wendy Simon, said: “Our cultural events programme is a hugely important part of the continued success of the city’s visitor economy.
“Tens of thousands of jobs are dependent on giving people a reason to visit Liverpool and spend money in the local economy while they are here and the investment we make brings a massive return.”
The Liverpool figures form part of a wider trend of growth across the city region.
Headline city region-wide figures show: • The region welcomed over 67.3m visitors to the region – a 5% increase from the previous year. This comprised of 61m day visitors (up 5.1%) and 5.5m staying visitors (up 3.8%). • Those staying in serviced accommodation rose by 5.9% to 2.8m – the economic impact from this alone rising by 6.4% and for the first time hit over £1bn. • Consequently, the region has enjoyed increased employment in the sector – over 57,000 jobs, an increase of 6.7%.
For Liverpool alone:
• A 7.4% increase in visitor numbers – up to 38m.
• A 5% increase in the number of staying visitors (2.7m). Including a 6% increase in serviced accommodation days.
• The wider benefit of this growth is the 8.4% rise in jobs – to almost 38,000.
• The Visitor Economy economic impact is now £3.3bn – a rise of 10% in the last year.
Over the last 5 years, there has been a 28% growth in the economic value of the visitor economy to the Liverpool City Region, rising from £3.83bn to £4.93bn – this is equivalent to an average growth of around 5% per year. Over the same period there has been an increase in the number of day and staying visitors, rising annually from 58.72m in 2014 to 67.38m by 2018.
Placed in wider context, VisitBritain’s annual summary, showed a decrease of 3.4% in inbound tourism visits in 2018, with the number of inbound visitors to the city region reducing by 7% during the same period, and possibly as a result of the uncertainty over Brexit and overseas travel for EU residents. However, the average length of time the inbound visitors stayed in the city region increased by 5% compared with the previous year – somewhat offsetting the reduction in the number of trips made.
The overall growth experienced by the city region reflects the importance of the domestic market in terms of those travelling to the area for short breaks and day visits. Major events such as the Terracotta Warriors and the wider city region events programme including Tall Ships Regatta and Giants Spectacular, both staged in Wirral and Liverpool, have made a significant impact in attracting these audiences over a sustained period of time.
Added to this is the increase in supply of hotel stock across Liverpool over the last 5 years and that average occupancy levels across 2018 were more that 3% higher than 2017, as was the average day rate for a hotel room – have also had a big impact on growth.
Peter Sandman, Head of Visitor Economy for the LEP, said: “Whilst the performance of the City Region’s visitor economy continues on an upward trajectory, there are underlying concerns that may well hamper growth over the next few years. In 2018 Liverpool slipped from 5th to 6th place in terms of popularity with overseas visitors. Similarly, the reliance on domestic markets to sustain this level of performance while the implications on border controls as the UK leaves the EU for key inbound markets may also effect performance.”