Liverpool city region’s booming visitor economy now close to £5bn mark

Liverpool city region welcomed 67.3m visitors in 2018 – a 5% increase on 2017 – with Liverpool alone seeing 38m visitors thanks to events such as the Giants. Tony McDonough reports

More than 1.3m people came to see the Giants in October 2018


Events such as the the return of the Giants and the Terracotta Warriors exhibition have helped push Liverpool city region’s visitor economy close to the £5bn mark.

In 2018 the city region, covering Liverpool, Wirral, Sefton, Knowsley, Halton and St Helens, welcomed 67.3m visitors – a 5% increase on 2017 and was worth more than £4.9bn, up from £4.3bn the previous year. The number of day visitors was up 5.1% to 61m and staying visitors up 3.8% to 5.5m.

October’s return of the Giants, Liverpool’s Dream, saw 1.3m people flock to locations in Liverpool and Wirral  and generated more than £60m for the Liverpool city region economy – making it the biggest and most successful event ever held in Merseyside.

Jobs growth

Figures from the research commissioned by the Visitor Economy Team at Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) show the city region visitor economy now supports more than 57,000 jobs – a year-on-year increase of 6.7%.

Another highlight from the report was the 5.9% increase in those people staying in serviced accommodation to 2.8m – the economic impact from this alone rising by 6.4% and for the first time hit over £1bn.

Liverpool alone saw a A 7.4% increase in visitor numbers – up to 38m – and a 5% increase in the number of staying visitors, up to 2.7m. This includes a 6% increase in serviced accommodation days. One of the big drivers of staying visitor number is Premier League and Champions League football.

The wider benefit of this growth to the city is an 8.4% rise in jobs to almost 38,000 with an overall economic impact of £3.3bn – a 10% rise on 2017.

WOW! Suite
Liverpool’s Seel Street Hotel, one of the more recent hotels to open in the city


Upward trajectory

Peter Sandman, head of visitor economy for the LEP, said: “While 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 fifth to sixth 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.”

The report also showed that during the past five 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.

Liverpool city region hotels are also benefiting from the growing sector with an ongoing increase in stock and increases in both occupancy levels and average day rates for hotel rooms.

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