Following the recent announcement that Liverpool will be stripped of its UNESCO World Heritage status, Ralph Hollister, Travel & Tourism Analyst at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers his view on the situation:
“While domestic tourism demand may not be massively impacted by the loss of Liverpool’s world heritage status, international demand could be as many international tourists visit Liverpool to experience the culture and history of the city. Cultural tourism is now big business, with 29%* of the global travel market typically undertaking this type of trip. The loss of its heritage status could take the shine off Liverpool’s cultural appeal and result in international tourists visiting other UK destinations that have kept this label, such as Bath.
“International tourists spend significantly more on average compared to domestic tourists. According to GlobalData, in 2019 (the last ‘normal’ year for tourism), average overseas tourism expenditure per resident stood at US$1,057, while average domestic tourism spend per resident in the UK stood at US$263 (GB£191). Liverpool needs to attract as much international tourism as possible in the coming years considering the significant amount of revenue it generates. With its heritage status now gone, international demand could be negatively impacted, and recovery could be prolonged.
“Liverpool is now set to lose out on several different benefits due to the recent announcement. As alluded to already, the increased press and publicity that comes with being a world heritage site increases international tourism and acts as a powerful marketing tool which the city has to pay little towards. Having world heritage status almost acts as a quality label for the international market to see. This is especially influential for the powerful Chinese source market that is known to be influenced by tags that denote quality or excellence. Under the status, heritage sites are also eligible to receive funds for protection and maintenance.
“International visitation would have taken time to recover in the aftermath of the pandemic however, this growth could take even longer to recover now that Liverpool has lost its world heritage status. The city now needs to be proactive in how it handles this news, whether this is by creating new marketing campaigns for the international market, or by quickly appealing this decision to regain its cultural attraction.”
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