Liverpool Visitor Economy Network has published a blueprint to revitalise the city’s visitor economy with an end to COVID-19 restrictions now in sight. Tony McDonough reports
An action plan to revive Liverpool’s battered £3.3bn visitor economy post-COVID has been published by local industry leaders.
On Monday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson unveiled his four-stage road map to get the UK back to normal. If the vaccine roll-out continues apace and COVID-19 cases continue to fall, all restrictions could be lifted by June 21.
Since it his the UK early last year, the COVID-19 pandemic has hit all business sectors hard but few have come off worse than the visitor economy, with pubs, bars, restaurants and visitor attraction closed for long periods. Even when they have been allowed to open, travel restrictions have meant footfall has been significantly lower than usual.
Over the past decade or so Liverpool is a city transformed. Developments such as the £1bn Liverpool ONE retail and leisure complete and ACC Liverpool, the waterfront arena and convention centre complex, have helped visitor numbers to surge.
In the year before COVID struck, the value of Liverpool city region’s visitor economy passed £5bn for the first time thanks to annual visitor numbers in excess of £60m. Events such as the Giants and the International Business Festival, attracted people from all parts of the UK and across the world.
In Liverpool, alone, the visitor economy was worth £3.3bn and offered employment to tens of thousands of people. Now Liverpool Visitor Economy Network (LVEN), a collaboration between leading businesses and organisations around the city, has published its blueprint for recovery.
This plan is based off this co-ordinated approach and sets out tangible, immediate actions to take with four core aims:
- Ensure businesses survive.
- Rebuild visitor audiences for when it’s safe to travel.
- Programme content to attract visitors.
- Boost confidence in Covid-safe measures.
Bill Addy, chief executive of Liverpool BID Company and chair of LVEN, said: “Our industry is already in dire straits and it’s clear we cannot rely on Government announcements or initiatives to lead us out of this situation.
“It’s against this backdrop that the Liverpool Visitor Economy Network has established a plan based off what the industry is saying, looking at what we can do on marketing, infrastructure, business support and events.
“It’s crucially important that this is not a final strategy or think-piece which sits on a shelf, but something with real actions for us all to take which will adapt to an ever-changing situation.”