The city region has already seen unprecedented levels of investment and interest in the area. Tourism figures continue to go from strength to strength – the value of tourism to the Merseyside economy has quadrupled in the last 20 years, which has helped develop a lively, vibrant, cosmopolitan world class city.
The Arena and Convention Centre Liverpool is the biggest development on the Merseyside conference scene at the moment. The Convention Centre features a 1,350 purpose-built auditorium, 18 breakout rooms with capacities ranging from 30 to 500 and up to 7,000 sq m of serviced exhibition space.
The Arena will host a range of events, including larger conferences, with delegate numbers ranging from 2,000 up to concerts for 10,000. To emphasise the venue’s versatility, it can host gala dinners, exhibitions and conferencing with breakout sessions running concurrently, all without the need to ever leave the venue.
Set to be one of the most eco-friendly venues in the UK, Arena and Convention Centre Liverpool is a £146 million project on the famous King’s Waterfront in Liverpool. Currently under construction, the new venue is scheduled to open in January 2008 at the dawn of Liverpool’s year as European Capital of Culture. The impressive architectural design provides a Conference Centre and Arena linked together in two separate but complementary buildings.
As part of the complex, there will also be a 310-bedroom Jury’s Inn Hotel, and a different 132-bedroom “apart-hotel”, residential property, offices, a 1,600 spaces multi-storey car park, leisure facilities, public spaces, offices and apartments.
Hotel developments in Liverpool includes the recent opening of a 100-bedroom Express by Holiday Hotel by Liverpool John Lennon Airport, a 130-bedroom Malmaison opened in January this year, and autumn 2007 will see the launch of the Beatles-themed Hard Days Night Hotel in the city centre. There will also be a Hilton Hotel as part of the £920 million Liverpool One retail development in the middle of Liverpool, to be opened in 2008.
Just north of Liverpool, Southport is fast establishing itself as England’s Classic Resort. It already enjoys a well-deserved reputation as a highly successful conference destination.
The complete redevelopment and refurbishment of the resort's principle conference venue, the Southport Theatre and Floral Hall, will benefit from a £40 million investment over the next two years. Opening in 2008, the exciting plans for the complex include a four star, branded 130 plus bedroom hotel and an additional 1,000 square metres of conference floor space, a 15,000 sq ft Casino and eight restaurants.
This attractively landscaped development along with other developments scheduled for 2008, including the opening of Southport’s first boutique hotel, “The Vincent,” will provide Southport with a much improved conference product making it Merseyside’s refreshing alternative to a city centre location.
Meet at the races
At Aintree Racecourse a thrilling £30million redevelopment of the racecourse site is well under way. The project will see a radical redesign of the racecourse facilities, including two new grand stands and a separate exhibition pavilion. When finished in time for the 2007 Grand National meeting, the new Aintree will offer excellent facilities not only to race goers, but to cater for conferences, meetings and events as well. A new purpose built equestrian centre, providing 3,900 square metres of exhibition space will complete the redevelopment in 2008 and offer conference organisers the versatility for a multitude of events, which can accommodate seated events for up to 13,000 people.
A wide variety of unique venues, such as the splendid Victorian Sefton Park Palm House the Mersey Ferries, and Liverpool’s Radio City Tower are already part of the Merseyside conference offer. So are major hotel brands like Radisson SAS, Crowne Plaza, Marriott, Thistle and Holiday Inn.
Re-opening of st george’s hall
An old favourite, St George’s Hall in the heart of Liverpool’s Cultural Quarter, is re-opening in the spring of 2007. One of the finest neo-classical buildings in the world, this venue has undergone a complete refurbishment and is again ready to welcome conferences, exhibitions, gala dinners or any other event.
The University of Liverpool’s award-winning Foresight Centre has been created in the old Liverpool Royal Infirmary. Among the facilities is the former hospital’s chapel skillfully converted to provide high-specification meeting facilities required for a successful event at the beginning of the 21st century.
The Neurosupport Centre offers well equipped meeting facilities that can cater for up to 80 people in Liverpool city centre. The centre is run by a charity, Neurosupport, and first priority is to support individuals and groups of people who have neurological problems and disabilities, to provide a base and meeting point for neurological charities, and to make available information about neurological disorders and services to help people to live with these conditions.
Elsewhere across Merseyside
Wirral, Knowsley, St.Helens and Halton offer a wide variety of attractive conference and event locations and facilities:
Other famous sporting venues in the region is Haydock Park Racecourse, Anfield and Goodison Park, home to Liverpool FC and Everton FC and St.Helens Rugby League Club, which all have excellent conference facilities as well as providing great opportunities for corporate hospitality during events. Liverpool and Merseyside provides an attractive professional offer as well as a varied leisure and retail experience for your delegates when not in conference. Highlights of next year’s Capital of Culture events include the UK’s first comprehensive exhibition of the work of Gustav Klimt at Tate Liverpool, Sir Simon Rattle conducting the Berlin Philharmonic, the Turner Prize being hosted in the city and Pete Postlethwaite appearing in King Lear at the Everyman Theatre.
The party has already started, however, with the whole of 2007 being a big birthday bash to celebrate Liverpool’s 800th anniversary. King John granted Liverpool city status in 1207 and the rise of a small village into a thriving metropolis will be celebrated throughout the year and should prove to be a splendid precursor to 2008.
Wide range of museums
800 years of history has created a cultural wealth and diversity reflected across the whole region – Liverpool has more museums and galleries than any other UK city outside London and a rich musical heritage ranging from the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic to The Beatles and The Zutons.
Visitors can call into Tate Liverpool, Merseyside Maritime Museum or The Beatles Story – all housed within The Albert Dock, which has the largest collection of Grade 1 listed buildings in the UK. Also, visit the Walker Art Gallery, two cathedrals, explore the beautiful architecture and enjoy the many shops, bars, cafes and restaurants.
A centre of maritime, cultural and sporting excellence, Liverpool’s success in being crowned European Capital of Culture 2008 is underpinned by its unrivalled architecture and heritage, including its world-famous waterfront. In 2004, UNESCO granted the city’s waterfront and Cultural Quarter World Heritage Site status, placing the city’s Pier Head alongside Stonehenge and the Great Wall of China as one of the world’s most important places.
Liverpool and Merseyside is easily accessible by plane, car, train and ferry. Liverpool John Lennon Airport is one of the fastest growing in Europe, which makes the destination increasingly popular. More than five million passengers used LJLA last year, travelling to more than 50 destinations including Paris, Milan, Barcelona and Berlin, with a daily route between Liverpool and New York to be added in May. In addition, the close proximity to Manchester International airport, only 45 minutes drive away, is convenient. And, if you travel from London, you are just over two hours away from Liverpool on the Virgin Pendolino train service.
As the world-famous city on the banks of the River Mersey prepares to be European Capital of Culture in 2008, Liverpool and Merseyside has also seen a fast growth in interest from conference and events organisers. The Mersey Partnership Conference Bureau is now building on this success to take their destination offer further and open up for an even wider market that will lead to stronger targeting of overseas buyers as well as domestic.
Merseyside has not only got the facilities. Merseyside has got the atmosphere, and takes pride in meeting any request from conference buyers, as well as giving delegates and visitors a more friendly welcome than anywhere else.
For more information
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