In a new era for the visitor destination sector, the Liverpool City Region’s six councils and the Combined Authority are joining forces in a landmark approach to promote the region’s unique cultural offer.

This pioneering partnership will be chaired by Tony Hall CBE, Lord Hall of Birkenhead, and will position the region as one of Europe’s major events capitals, seeking to deliver maximum economic benefit across the city region from its worldwide visitor appeal.

Lord Hall, former Director-General of the BBC and the former Chief Executive of the Royal Opera House, brings a wealth of experience in leading major cultural institutions and civic bodies, combined with his personal roots and passion for the region and culture. He is currently Chairman of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, a Trustee of the National Trust, the Natural History Museum, and the Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra.

Lord Hall will be joined by a 15-strong team of national and regional board members who bring expertise from the worlds of sport, film, music, hospitality, retail and leisure. All will work together to lead, advise, influence and champion the Liverpool City Region as the destination to visit, invest and stage major events in. The new Board will now start shaping a five-year destination management plan which will be launched later this year.

Although yet to be officially named, the new body will be known initially as the Local Visitor Economy Partnership (LVEP) and will work to boost the city region’s £5bn-a-year visitor economy, which employs around 51,000 people.

Around 60 million people flock to the area every year to enjoy its cultural, musical and sporting attractions. Earlier this year, Time Out magazine recognised the area’s strengths, naming Liverpool as the seventh best city in the world, ranking above Tokyo, Rome and Paris.

The announcement comes a year on from Liverpool receiving global praise for hosting the most successful Eurovision Song Contest to ever take place. As host city, on behalf of Ukraine, music fans and residents were able to enjoy and participate in an inclusive cultural programme that united people in music.

The new tourism partnership is backed by all of the city region’s local authorities and will be delivered in partnership by staff from the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and Liverpool City Council.

As a nationally recognised official body, the partnership will provide strong leadership and management of the region’s visitor economy and will work collaboratively with the public and private sectors.

Due to the importance of the visitor economy and its influence on the Liverpool City Region’s overall economic success, board members will support the visitor economy sector’s growth; influence policy; work to stimulate overall economic growth, productivity, and competitiveness; and support the Liverpool City Region in its overarching aim for inclusive growth and sustainability.

Find out more about LVEP, and the board members by visiting the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority website.

The LVEP Board Members are:

Chair: Lord Tony Hall, Baron Hall of Birkenhead, CBE.

Retail (and Deputy Chair): Donna Howitt, Place Strategy Director at Liverpool ONE.

Accommodation: Howard Lewis, General Manager, Novotel Paddington Village Liverpool.

Business Events: Faye Dyer, Chief Executive, The Arena and Conference Centre Liverpool Group.

Major Attraction: Rachel Scott, Head of Marketing Knowsley Estate.

Major Attraction: Alan Adams, General Manager, Southport Flower Show/Victoria Park Events.

Culinary Arts: Paul Askew, Chief Executive and Chef Patron Art School.

Night Time Economy: John Hughes, Chair Liverpool Night Life CIC.

Culture: Madeline Henneghan, Co-Director, Writing on the Wall.

Music: Eunice Obianagha, Head of Diversity, UK Music.

TV and Film: Barrington Paul Robinson, Creative Producer, Dancing Ledge Productions Limited.

Sport: Clare Briegal, Former Chief Executive, World Netball.

Liverpool City Council: Cllr Harry Doyle, Cabinet Member for Health, Wellbeing and Culture Liverpool City Council.

Sefton Destination Management Organisation: Peter Hampson, Chair, Marketing Southport.

Liverpool City Region Combined Authority: Cllr Kate Groucutt, Deputy Portfolio Holder for Inclusive Growth and Third Sector.

Young professionals: Rachael Stevens, Chair of Liverpool City Region’s Future Impact Board.

Chair of the LVEP Board, Lord Hall, said:

“This is a fantastic opportunity to come back to my roots and play a role in promoting this incredible region, which has so much to offer to visitors.

“I’m proud and honoured to be leading a very high-calibre board that represents the diversity of the sector and the city region. I can’t wait to get to know them and to work together to bring even more people to this wonderful city and region.”

Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said:

“The Liverpool City Region is a national and international destination of choice, renowned for its unbeatable culture, music, sport, hospitality and much, much more.

“In the last year alone, we’ve completely transformed an event as iconic as Eurovision – and welcomed golf’s global superstars for the 151st edition of The Open in Hoylake. That’s in addition to the Grand National, two Premier League football teams and the most successful Super League team in the country calling our area home.

“But we’re not here to rest on our laurels and this is all about ambition; we want to go from strength to strength and partnership is the key to that. That’s why I’ve pledged to double support for culture to 2% of our budget to build on our achievements. It’s because of our recent success that we’ve been able to attract someone of Tony’s calibre to help turbocharge this work over the next few years. We are already the UK’s cultural capital but watch out because we’re only just getting started!”

Leader of Liverpool City Council, Councillor Liam Robinson, said:

“This new way of working together is all about unleashing the full potential of the City Region – using all our skills, innovation and creativity to make a real, tangible difference.

“We’ve seen Liverpool excel when it comes to events and we’re one of the best cities around when it comes to promoting ourselves, so it makes sense to bring together the entire City Region in a creative union, with a shared goal of inspiring residents, boosting the local economy and attracting visitors.

“By creating a one-front-door approach – we become more accessible, visible and will stand out as a UK destination with a huge amount to shout about – from incredible tourist attractions, a booming film sector right through to leading the way in the gaming and science sectors and not to mention the rich heritage that runs across each of the six boroughs.

“We will now have all the component parts that we need in one place to best exploit some of the most exciting opportunities around and solidify Liverpool City Region’s cultural powerhouse status.”

Cllr Kate Groucutt (St Helens Borough Council), LVEP Board member and Deputy Portfolio Holder for Inclusive Growth and Third Sector for 2023/24, said:

“This new approach is a tremendously exciting opportunity for us to work together to promote our city region and boost our vitally important tourism sector.

“We are rightly famous for the warmth of our welcome and the richness of what we have to offer – across sport, music, the arts, nightlife and so much more. By working collectively we can attract even more people to visit and spread the word about our fantastic city region.”

VisitBritain/VisitEngland CEO, Patricia Yates, said:

“The Liverpool City Region was one of the first LVEPs VisitEngland accredited and it has enjoyed a truly successful year with Eurovision and the golf open to name but a few highlights that have shone the global spotlight on this part of England. I would like to extend our welcome and congratulations to the Liverpool City Region Local Visitor Economy Partnership and its new chairman Lord Hall.

“This announcement is timely bringing to the fore the industry’s economic importance and the fantastic work underway with stakeholders across the region to grow the visitor economy. We look forward to continuing to work with the Liverpool City Region Local Visitor Economy Partnership and its Board, building on the region’s success and ensuring Liverpool remains a top destination for both domestic and international visitors now and in the years ahead.”

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