New structure for visitor economy

Over the last ten years the Liverpool City Region Visitor Economy has become a huge success story, with year on year growth. Thanks to funding from the European Union to support marketing and development activity within the sector, Liverpool is among the top six destinations for international tourism within the UK.

As dedicated EU funding for the visitor economy sector comes to an end in June 2015, the LEP (the City Region’s Official Tourist Board) has reached a new agreement with Marketing Liverpool, part of Liverpool Vision, to continue the promotion of the Liverpool City Region to key overseas and domestic markets.

These changes will come into effect from 1st July 2015 with Marketing Liverpool being commissioned for a three-year period to deliver the City Region’s destination marketing activities and the management of Liverpool’s Convention Bureau.

The arrangements have been developed on the back of a new commercial model that will stop the City Region becoming overly reliant on external grant funding to sustain its destination marketing and sales activities.  As a result, one of the key changes will be that management of Liverpool’s tourism membership scheme will transfer from the LEP to Marketing Liverpool for the duration of the contract.

This new membership structure is designed to strengthen the relationship between Visitor Economy members and those working directly to market the sector. Corporate members of the LEP are not affected by this re-structure.

Other changes will include the creation of a new Visitor Economy Network and Visitor Economy Strategy for Liverpool.  The current Liverpool City Region Board will also be broadened so it is representative of the six districts making up the region following the creation of the Combined Authority last year.

The LEP will continue to be the official Tourism Board for the City Region retaining responsibility for strategy, funding, national policy, research and intelligence.

Robert Hough, Chair of Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership, said:

“The Local Enterprise Partnership has been the driving force for the visitor economy, and by orchestrating these changes we are ensuring this vital sector continues to thrive in the coming years.”

Sara Wilde McKeown, Chair of the Visitor Economy Board, said:

“Thanks to EU funding and contributions from stakeholders we have seen significant growth in hotel occupancy, day visitors and the profile of the City Region including Liverpool’s position as a top five UK destination for domestic visits.

“Our EU funding comes to an end at the end of June and to sustain this momentum we must build on this successful partnership we have with Marketing Liverpool and work in a new and more commercially sustainable way.”

Chris Brown, Director of Marketing Liverpool, said:

“This is the next natural step towards establishing a closer working relationship between ourselves and Visitor Economy members, who want to get the most out of the city region’s marketing potential.

“We are building on a successful two year relationship with the LEP which has created a regional marketing body, this has driven growth and allowed us to compete more effectively in key domestic and international markets. In addition, a new staffing structure will be developed, managed by a new Head of Tourism post.”

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