Liverpool’s tourism industry is steadily recovering from the shock to the economy caused by the pandemic.
Latest figures show that the sector is beginning to bounce back, despite the pandemic continuing to affect tourism last year.
The industry had been growing gradually in recent years with spending reaching a high in 2019 of £4.98bn across the Liverpool City Region. However, this dropped in 2020 to £2.10bn, but last year rose to £3.58bn.
Due to the various local and national lockdowns linked to the pandemic, visitor numbers dropped from 66.27m in 2019 to 26.14m in 2020, but last year rose again to 42.15m.
These findings, contained in the latest independent research commissioned by the Visitor Economy team at Growth Platform – Liverpool City Region Growth Company – also show that jobs in the sector picked up from just over 24,000 in 2020 to more than 38,000 in 2021. The figure from 2019 was 55,703.
Other figures show hotel occupancy was much improved from the 38.3% in 2020 to 55.2% in 2021, although some way off the 2019 figure of 78.4%.
Throughout the pandemic Growth Platform worked alongside business support organizations and local authority partners and collectively supported thousands of businesses to access government schemes, including small business grants specifically for hospitality and leisure.
This included the initiative Liverpool Without Walls, which enabled venues to trade outside during the pandemic, enabling the food sector to offer al fresco dining on closed-off roads, such as Castle Street and Bold Street, in the city centre.
Laura Pye, chair of the Visitor Economy Board for the city region, said: “It has been wonderful seeing visitors back on our streets, enjoying the incredible array of attractions Liverpool City Region has to offer.
“There is still work to be done to get back to our pre-pandemic numbers, but it is very encouraging to see these ‘green shoots’ in the latest data and we should be really proud of the ingenuity and creativity we have within the region that have got us to this point and will keep the momentum of growth going.”
As part of the continuing recovery efforts Growth Platform worked closely with the visitor economy network to develop a two year recovery plan, which began last year and runs until March 2023.
The plan focuses on the importance of the sector to the city region and the priorities for supporting businesses and protecting jobs, it covers a range of initiatives including skills training, business support and destination marketing.
These figures are published by the STEAM (Scarborough Tourism Economic Activity Monitor) model, which is used throughout the UK tourism industry to measure economic impact of the visitor economy. Hotel occupancy data is provided by STR Global.