Pounds 1bn Leisure Industry Is Serious Business; TOURISM AWARDS 2007 the Mersey Partnership Annual Tourism Awards

Daily Post (Liverpool, England), June 4, 2007 | Go to article overview

Pounds 1bn Leisure Industry Is Serious Business; TOURISM AWARDS 2007 the Mersey Partnership Annual Tourism Awards


Byline: BY LARRY NEILD Daily Post City Editor

MERSEYSIDE'S tourism sector - now worth more than pounds 1bn a year - is booming, David Wade-Smith, chairman of the region's tourism board, said at the glittering 2007 Tourism Awards ceremony.

Leisure businesses, tourism activities and a host of events make a very sizeable contribution to the growing visitor economy, a sector that supports more than 22,000 jobs across the city region, he said.

Addressing an audience at St George's Hall, Mr Wade-Smith said: "That's a pretty impressive performance by any standards, and it's a great foundation on which we can build further success for the future.

"And when I look ahead to the future, I am inclined to focus way beyond the enormous excitement we are all relishing for next year as we celebrate European Capital of Culture.

"I believe that we must maximise every opportunity presented during this unique year, in a way that ensures our visitor economy continues to grow from strength to strength.

"As Liverpool city region's officially designated tourist board, we are committed to further development of the sector well beyond 2008.

"Our shared aim is to see Liverpool city region among the top 20 European city region destinations by 2015, with an annual visitor spend of pounds 2bn supporting 30,000 jobs in the local economy.

"By then, the city of Liverpool will have become a truly international destination for conference and leisure travel. It's an ambitious target, I know. But it is realistic and it is achievable."

He said Liverpool and the surrounding areas are experiencing a destination offer that is being transformed by millions of pounds worth of investment in schemes which will allow the area to welcome and host even more visitors to Liverpool and Merseyside.

The new Arena and Convention Centre, the cruise ship berth, Governor's pounds 1bn Liverpool One project, the new developments at Mann Island and the prospect of new stadium for Liverpool and Everton are future crowd-pullers.

"These developments are here to stay long after the curtain comes down on 2008, and the final firework has lit up our skies in that momentous year," he said.

Mr Wade-Smith said Liverpool and Merseyside had never been in better shape to welcome visitors from around the world.

"What we must all do now is ensure that we deliver the very best possible visitor experience. Simply put - we must make sure we leave all of our visitors wanting more.

"And we must ensure we send them home with the very best impressions of our city region that they will relate to the friends and families."

The staging of the Open Golf Championship at Wirral's Royal Liverpool course was rewarded with the top accolade at the awards. The Open was named Best Tourism Experience of the Year after the way it attracted tens of thousands of visitors and put Merseyside on the world map.

In their citation, the judges described the Open as "a truly outstanding experience for all involved, whilst presenting the area in a positive and inviting manner to a world audience". …

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