‘Inspirational’ leader sought for £5bn visitor economy

Liverpool city region is seeking an ‘inspirational’ leader to help drive forward the £5bn visitor economy – this year boosted by Eurovision and the Open Championship. Tony McDonough reports

Liverpool, Royal Albert Dock, city centre, skyline, waterfront
Liverpool city region’s visitor economy is worth billions of pounds a year


Liverpool city region is looking to capitalise on the momentum created by the Eurovision Song Contest by appointing a senior figure to drive forward the visitor economy.

Before COVID hit the city region visitor economy was worth around £5bn a year and has a good chance of returning to that level in 2023 and growing further. 

In May Liverpool hosted the Eurovision Song Contest at the M&S Bank Arena. In the two weeks leading up to the event an estimated 500,000 extra visitors descend on Merseyside from across the world.

Liverpool City Region Combined Authority estimates the extra exposure from the contest will boost visitor numbers by around 5% over the next few years and boost the economy by £250m.

And in the last few days the Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake has hosted the 151st Open Championship. This attracted the world’s top golfers, more than 250,000 spectators and a worldwide TV audience. The Open will return to Birkdale in 2026.

Also this year the city region has seen crowds flock to annual favourites such as the Grand National. Next weekend sees Pride in Liverpool which is likely to attract tens of thousands.

In August, the Southport Flower Show will get under way and will attract around 55,000 people from across the UK. This four-day event will generate around £4.5m for the Southport area.

In March, Liverpool’s third Business Improvement District (BID) was established covering the hotel and accommodation sector. It will see £4m set invested into the local visitor economy.

Now the Combined Authority is looking to appoint a chair for the newly established Local Visitor Economy Partnership (LVEP). This will oversee the strengthening of the visitor economy, capitalising on existing events and finding new ones.

Liverpool city region’s LVEP will be one of the first in the country following VisitEngland’s approval of an application in April.

It will be a collaboration between local government, tourism organisations, business associations, and key stakeholders dedicated to promoting and enhancing the city region’s visitor economy.

As chair, the successful candidate will play a pivotal role in leading this partnership to new heights, ensuring sustainable growth and development.


Eurovision 2023
Eurovision 2023 was held at the M&S Bank Arena in Liverpool. Picture by Chloe Hashema/EBU
Brian Harman, Open, golf, Hoylake
Open Championship winner Brian Harman at Royal Liverpool. Picture by Charlie Crowhurst/R&A via Getty Images
Liverpool ONE
Big steps at Liverpool ONE in May 2023. Picture by Gareth Jones


Accountable to the Combined Authority, the chair of the LVEP will also sit on the Business and Enterprise Board which will be the primary strategic link between business and the CA.

It will typically be composed of members broadly representing the city region geography but with the flexibility to co-opt members to plug gaps in areas of expertise, local geography or to ensure greater diversity.

Laura Pye, director of National Museums Liverpool and chair of the city region Visitor Economy Board, said: “Our visitor economy is crucial to the city region’s economic success.

“Although we are seeing more visitors in the region since the start of the pandemic there is still work to be done to get back to our pre-pandemic numbers.

“The creation of a Local Visitor Economy Partnership will enable the city region to do just that, ensuring the continued success of our amazing destination.”

Interested candidates are invited to submit a covering letter explaining why they are the ideal candidate to be LVEP board chair and a brief explanation of their vision for the city region. More information can be found here.

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