500,000 extra visitors came to Liverpool in the two weeks leading up to Eurovision – 400,000 more than forecast – and they may have spent as much as £200m. Tony McDonough reports
Liverpool saw an extra 500,000 people descend on the city centre in the two weeks leading up to Eurovision – significantly more than than the 100,000 forecast.
Early footfall data from Merseyside Police suggests half a million extra people flocked to the city. And based on a forecast by NatWest it means city centre businesses may have benefited by as much as £200m.
Liverpool City Council’s Eurovision Village at the Pier Head on the waterfront. Welcomed 250,000 visitors during the nine days it was open. And Liverpool BID Company reported the city centre had an additional 384,036 visitors – an increase of 13.2% on 2022.
Liverpool ONE saw a 32% growth in numbers compared to the same period last year – with some days seeing increases as high as 53%. More than half a million people visited Liverpool ONE last week, making it the busiest week of the year so far.
It was predicted by NatWest that an extra 100,000 visitors would equate to an extra spend of £40m, based on a Visit Britain formula. The forecast said overseas visitors would spend around £28m while day visitors would spend £12m.
Based on the same formula it may be reasonable to assume that 500,000 people would spend up to £200m. That would be based on an average spend of £400 per person.
Bill Addy, chief executive of Liverpool BID Company, said: “The private sector, through BID, made a six figure investment to help ensure the benefit of Eurovision would be felt throughout the city centre.
“We’ve spent a lot of time with our city centre businesses helping to prepare for this, from window dressing and artwork to karaoke displays and language classes, so it’s great to see it paying off.”
Claire McColgan, and her team at Culture Liverpool, masterminded the initial bid to host Eurovision and were behind the organisation of the Eurovision Village and other events in the city. The BBC organised the contest itself at ACC Liverpool.
She paid tribute to the myriad of agencies and individuals that helped make Eurovision a success. They included Merseyside Police, Merseytravel, the Combined Authority, the BID, Liverpool ONE, Royal Albert Dock, Baltic Triangle, Night Life CIC and Liverpool Hospitality.
She also offers a special thanks to the local Ukrainian community – for their “energy, ideas, enthusiasm and creativity”.
“The logistics of staging an event of this scale and within this time period would have been impossible without the incredible support of our colleagues across the city council and our city partners,” she explained.
“Everyone across the city and region stepped up and it was a true team effort. We are uniquely lucky to have a collection of experts in their field who handled everything we threw at them with professionalism, good grace and humour.”
Cabinet Member elect for Healthy and Vibrant City, Cllr Harry Doyle, added: “The last two weeks have been a whirlwind of blue and yellow as we have welcomed people from across the world to celebrate with us on behalf of Ukraine.
““Anyone who got the chance to be in the city centre over the past few days knows how busy it was and the incredible buzz it generated.”