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What's hot and what's not

Larry Neild at the Merseyside Tourism Oscars

Published on June 14th 2010.


What's hot and what's not

Almost 50 years after John, Paul, George and Ringo moved away from Liverpool to rule Heaven and Earth, the Fab Four were the toast of the town at the city's annual tourism Oscars.

The Beatles Story scooped not one, but two of the big gongs at The Mersey Partnership’s glittering awards night down at the BT Convention Centre.

And for non-lovers of the mop-tops, expect plenty more to come. A frenzy of Beatlemania is planned between October 9, on what would have been John Lennon’s 70th birthday, right up to the 30th anniversary on December 8 of his death in New York.

Crowning glory in Liverpool will be the unveiling of a sculpture which (according to the Beatles Story people) will be one of the most significant works of art anywhere in Europe. The work will celebrate Lennon’s contribution to music and peace and will be unveiled by son Julian Lennon.

Back in Mersey Partnership land, the Beatles Story won the award for the Large Visitor Attraction of the Year. They were up against FACT, Knowsley Safari Park, LFC’s museum and stadium tour, the Bluecoat and BugWorld Experience.

And it won the award for Tourism Marketing Project of the Year, up against the ACC, the venue for the bash itself, World Museum’s Ancient Egypt Gallery and Knowsley Safari Park.

You can take the view the Beatles are history, but imagine if the good folk in Stratford Upon Avon had taken that stance.

The judging panel was made up of more than 20 people, a mixed bag who can’t all be diehard Beatles’ fans, but collectively came to appreciate the pulling power of John and Co.

I’ve always felt Liverpool is missing a trick in the way it markets the Beatles/Mersey Sound industry - and yes, I do appreciate there’s more to Liverpool than ‘them four’.

Bar of the Year was won by Wro Bar & Lounge, it doesn’t really count as it’s on The Wirral. Raising their glasses, no doubt, to the winner were the other contenders, Alma de Cuba, Glassfire, La Cubanita and Palm Sugar Lounge.

Taste Liverpool was won by 60 Hope Street, up against near neighbours London Carriage Works and Host, Maritime Dining Rooms (that’s at the Mersey Maritime Museum) and Upstairs at the Bluecoat.

The hotly contested Hotel of the Year was bagged by Hope Street Hotel, up against Jurys Inn (which hosted the after-event party), Malmaison and, from the Wirral, the Hillbark Hotel.

Tourism Experience of the Year, in Oscar terms it’s like the ‘Best Picture’ was contested by Dream, that truly remarkable work overlooking the M62 at St Helens, Knowlsey Safri Park’s Keep for the Day, World Museum, Liverpool and Liverpool ONE.Shopaholics were delighted when Liverpool ONE grabbed this coveted award.

Other awards Excellence in Customer Service – Stuart Cockburn of Formby Hall Golf Resort and Spa, Performance Venue of the Year – Echo Arena, Excellence in Business Tourism – Conference Centre at LACE, Small Visitor Attraction – Acorn Farm, Self Catering Accommodation – Herons Well, Guest Accommodation - Knowsley Hall, Sustainable Tourism – Jurys Inn Liverpool, Tourism Retailer – Liverpool Cathedral, Tourism Event of the Year – A Winter’s Trail.

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9 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Maxwell SilverhammerJune 14th 2010.

Wapping makes a valid point about the difference in being a capital city as a tourist destination but at the same time Wish U is quite right about Liverpool One winning as being a comment on our ranking as a cultural destination. It is a shame that these pools come down to shopping as they fail to highlight many of the wonders Liverpool has to offer, the Cathedrals, The Georgian architecture, the parks and the many other worthy museums and galleries. I would have included the waterfront but I am sick to the stomach every time I pass the enormous Black Coffins that bury the view of what was the jewel in our crown and the rip off copy of the Rome Maxxi building. Is it a wolf in cheap cladding? That should have been on another site with landscaping and gardens. Where I do take exception to the piece above is yet again Larry banging Ringo's drum (and probably with more musical skill) that we have never made enough of the Beatles. Turn it in mate, for God's sake! Their houses are open to tours; we have a dedicated museum, a hotel, tour busses, a privet hedge, a fake cavern, and even the sodding airport. How about we all change our names by deed poll? And really, you cannot compare Stratford Upon Avon and Shakespeare with Liverpool and the Beatles. To be or not to be against Let it be. Loves labours lost and She loves you yeah, yeah, yeah. The Tempest and Twist & Shout. Of course great songs, great talent…but two minute tunes at the end of the day, appealing to an increasingly smaller audience as the next generations, with some exceptions largely say who? Are you pulling my pizzle stick?

Big IdeasJune 14th 2010.

Talking of theme parks, I worked with LarryN on an idea a few years ago. Creating an international rail experience at Edge Hill (the world's oldest passenger railway station), bringing in locos from every continent so as not to clash with the National Rail Museum in York. We could build a huge multi-storey at Edge Hill, then we'd create an eco-friendly electric trolley service via the Wapping Tunnel to shuttle people to and from the Arena, Albert Dock and even Liverpool One. The tunnel is in excellent condition and a shuttle bus service would be much cheaper than re-laying a track.Icing on the cake could be re-building the Botanical Gardens as a Kew of the North with our hidden gem, the world famous orchid collection as pride of place. But we'll have to make do with Liverpool One I suppose.

redfoxJune 14th 2010.

and while I'm on the subject last year's TMP awards, wasn't covered by the Echo.. because they didn't get the contract to run the event... so non of the hours of application writing and being scrutinsinig by the 'whose turn to win is it anyway panel' was worth it!.. though their editor denied it . . . Just bored of the whole thing now . . . Let the great British public decided, we'll talk up our own city...

WappingJune 14th 2010.

And as for The Tempest vs Twist and Shout, I don't suppose many of Stratford's visitors can quote more than six words from any Shakespeare play and I doubt many stay longer than overnight. It's business and the essential quality of the merchandise is in the story and not the goods. Our story is every bit as good as theirs, probably better.

WappingJune 14th 2010.

I think you've missed something of the reality of the business of tourism, Wish U. Paris is a major European capital city with clout on a par with that London and Barcelona has a very attractive climate. And yet what most visitors want to do when they get there is GO SHOPPING. Really, they want a nice place to go shopping. They'll take in a bit of romance or Royalty or Beatles, they'll want to ooh at the architecture but all they really want is to stay in a decent room in an interesting, multifaceted city and spend money in fancy shops on things they don't need. We meet those wishes increasingly well, certainly much better than we did say twenty years ago and now there isn't a provincial UK destination comes near. These results bear this out so "Well Done Liverpool, well in!"

Wish U wr here....June 14th 2010.

I'm delighted for the winners, but when you look at the list we really do have a long way to go before we can be judged a big-time tourism destination, like, say Paris, Barcelona etc. I think the award for Tourism Experience of the Year going to Liverpool ONE just about says it all.

WappingJune 14th 2010.

Maxwell, my point about the business of tourism was that visitors want a wide range of options for the cultural justification aspect of their visit. So with us they can come here for the music history and festivals or the high culture artyfartiness and tick off a truly world-ranking waterfront, our spectacular architecture, maritime heritage, nightlife (some w*rk needed there I think!) or sports stories. I used the term multifaceted because most tourist destinations are one trick ponies: Shakespeare or Romans or scenery. But the tourists spend only a portion of their time doing cultural tourism things, another portion is what guides would call "free time" which most would spend shopping. The importance of a really good shopping experience cannot be overstated hence Liverpool One's award.

redfoxJune 14th 2010.

Between TMP and City Council - marketing Liverpool is a shambles if it wasn't for the NWDA funding there wouldn't be any, and there probably won't be much more. Another one of Liverpool's huge tourism hits should be WORLD HERITAGE SITE.. but TMP only markets in the main to 'style hounds' that's twenty something clubbers and hen/stag parties to you and me. They are completely missing a trick and people in the attractions/venues are so bored of trying to work with them - we just do our own thing. Their gaffs, and missed opportunities like the Culture company continue, on and on. Might be no bad thing if the axe comes done. Least it concentrates the mind..

Tricky WooJune 14th 2010.

Completely agree with Maxwell, I have to say, re the Beatles. We are not a theme park Larry. They left half a century ago.

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