Liverpool Lib Dem’s Spokesperson on Culture and Tourism, Cllr Carole Storey, has outlined a seven-point plan to create an engine for the recovery of a crucial sector for Liverpool employment post Covid-19.
The seven-point plan will create a sustainable tourism industry which takes account of the changes that will be environmentally and economically sustainable and meeting the requirements of the people of Liverpool.
“There can be no doubt that tourism will be hugely affected by the coronavirus outbreak”, says Cllr Storey.
Locally people have appreciated that our City has more to offer and that there is no need to travel distances to appreciate both nature and culture. Our parks will continue to boom, our cultural attractions will be eagerly used by local people when they reopen and our cafés bars and restaurants have proved their worth through there take away services.
But it is not only local people who will change their leisure priorities. The cost of air travel is likely to go up permanently and many people will question the value of travelling in a metal box of an aeroplane for hours when there is so much available locally. The Cruise Liner industry will be permanently hit calling into question our support for a new terminal which could well be a white elephant”.
Amongst Cllr Storey’s proposals are:
- A marketing campaign aimed at the 5-6 million people who live in easy reach of the City
- The development of a safe city programme to minimise health risks in busy areas
- Increasing pedestrianised areas in the City to create plazas of activity
- Creating officials busking points to improve the quality of the street offer and provide work for cultural artistes
- The development of new usable spaces in the City Centre by moving St Johns market to become a permanent outside market between its current, unviable, position and Clayton Square and provide a ‘bandstand’ in Williamson Square.
The policy can be seen here;
Creating a new sustainable tourism industry for the Liverpool City Region
There can be no doubt that Liverpool has benefitted massively from tourism both internally and internationally because of the successful application for and delivery of the 2008 Capital of Culture year. During and immediately after the year Liverpool was in the top three of most visited cities in the UK. Now Visit Britain figures put us in 2018 in 6th place behind London, Edinburgh, Manchester, Birmingham and Glasgow. In 2017 we were in 5th place behind London, Edinburgh, Manchester and Birmingham. It appears that we are slipping down the Tourist League Table. For international visitors we are in sixth place.
Tourism is an enormous boost to our local economy and, of course, creates jobs. What is clear, however, that the face of tourism will change at least for the next three years and probably permanently because of the coronavirus lock downs and fears. EasyJet and Ryanair who are the most prolific users of our airport have laid off a third of their employees and fleet and expect not to return to normal for three years. The Cruise Liner industry has received a massive jolt and is anticipating a permanent reduction in its fleets.
There is a general feeling globally that a new normal will emerge. Flying will get more expensive and people will reduce the use of air travel for their holidays. The fact that people will travel less means that we have to think carefully about proposed developments. Do we need a new liner terminal when there will be far fewer liners coming here? Does the airport need to expand onto Oglet shore? Will the figures for the proposed new EFC ground still stack up if less people come by plane and train to watch games?
All these affect not only the means of transport but what people do when they are here. They shop, they eat, they drink, they stay in hotels, they visit attractions, they buy souvenirs. We now need to ensure that we have a tourism and culture policy in place which reflects these changes and is seen as being environmentally sustainable and culturally and environmentally sustainable.
Al these things create jobs. There was a view that all these jobs were seasonal and part time. That is not the case, yes there are part time jobs but thousands of full time jobs have been created and sustained by tourism.
WHY DO TOURISTS COME TO LIVERPOOL?
In no particular order:-
– Beatles attractions and landmarks
– Culture, our 7 world class Museums and Galleries and our Philharmonic and theatres
– Sport -particularly football
– UNESCO World Heritage Site
– Students (students have families who come and visit their loved ones and make a weekend of it)
– Weekend Breaks
– Hen and Stag Parties from other parts of the UK and more widely Europe
These are things which will apply but which will have different levels of engagement and opportunity.
So, what should our priorities be?
A safe City
First and foremost, tourists will want to feel safe and visit places they feel safe in so mass crowd events will just not happen in the immediate future. We will need to develop our cultural destinations to be safe and offer a degree of social distancing. So timed ticketed entrances for our major attractions will be crucial.
Develop and help market free virtual tours of our Museums and Art Galleries, Cathedrals and Religious Buildings, Beatles and Historic Buildings. By offering free virtual tours we can create a desire to visit Liverpool.
Building a strong regional market
Secondly, we need to recognise that more of our tourism will be UK based and regional for the foreseeable future. More than 10 million people live within easy distance of Liverpool by pubic or private land transport.
We must direct our marketing efforts in the City in the Northwest, Yorkshire, Cheshire and the Midlands. We need to get the best PR brains to come up with a strap line to show Liverpool is a clean and safe place to visit for tourists.
Make our city centre more accessible
Pedestrianising parts of the city centre, which has already been mooted, is something that should be welcomed and encouraged and on even bigger scale than so far suggested.
All of Bold Street, Castle Street and Canada Boulevard should be permanently closed to traffic with the exception of buses and bikes. A further review should take place of other streets to close.
Create life on our city streets
At times our streets seem full of beggars, fundamental religious groups and poor-quality performance artists.
Expand and enhance official busking and performance points and work with the music and arts industries to ensure that the offer is good quality and that artists of all sorts can make a living from supplementing their income in this way.
Using our space more effectively
Liverpool City Centre has too much wasted space. In other major European Cities, there are outside markets selling food and other staples but also complemented frequently by crafts people and artisans selling their wares. There is also a much more advanced café and pavement café culture.
Move St. Johns Market from being an inside market to become a permanent outside and semi sheltered market between St Johns Precinct and Clayton Square. Create a permanent ‘Band Stand’ in Williamson Square; Develop a series of year long artisan markets for local crafts people, traders and food producers.
Urgently review the potential for more outdoor spaces for bars and restaurants to open pavement cafes and bars.
Getting the tourists spread out more widely
At present approximately 90% of our tourism offer is within 20 minutes’ walk of the Pier Head with outliers such as Anfield and the Cathedrals. But Liverpool is much more than that. With Sudley House in Mossley Hill which few Scousers have seen, the Beatles homeland Quarter in the Penny lane/ Allerton Road/Rose Lane area, Croxteth Hall and Speke Hall and a whole host of musical and cultural opportunities there is much that can be done on a ‘hub and spoke’ basis to link the centre with peripheral attractions
Conduct an audit of all attractions and potential attractions outside the City Centre and then develop a marketing activity and an integrated tourist pass for public transport to get people out to them? Create opportunities for people to come into the City in their cars and them leave them parked up by moving to walking, cycling and public transport mobility solutions.
Create Festivals and events that attract big wallet visitors
Liverpool needs events that attract into the City people who will want to use expensive hotels and expensive restaurants. With travel becoming more expensive Liverpool will need to go upmarket from the cheap and cheerful activities which are its current staple.
Work with Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, the Museums, the Theatres and other iconic venues such as the Cathedrals to develop a programme of regular festivals, book fairs, arts events to promote Liverpool to high spending visitors. Hold events such as ‘Arts in the Parks’ and ‘the Phil in the Parks’ to promote a wider range of cultural activities and opportunities.