Welcome to Manchester Confidential
Reset Password
The Confidential websites will be undergoing routine updates. This may cause the sites to go offline. We apologise in advance for any inconvenience.

You are here: Manchester ConfidentialNews.

The Laz Word....from Larry Neild

Are we just too straight to play the global tourism game? Our weekly columnist wonders.

Published on July 28th 2008.


The Laz Word....from Larry Neild

The world is ready for Liverpool, but is Liverpool ready for the world? Is our city, once described as the centre of the universe, a truly global tourism mecca?

Sitting outside the Roman spa in Bath it was obvious the place is crawling with visitors from every continent. Of course Bath has been attracting tourists for 2,000 years. As I gazed around the place, I pondered on this: Liverpool is easily a match for places like this, with our waterfront, our museums and galleries, theatres, nightlife, our architecture.

We need to get smart and realise there’s money in them there tourists – and that’s not an invitation to gangs of pickpockets.

So what is missing from Liverpool that places like Bath seem to have in abundance? It’s the ambience, the fact that places like Bath are geared up for tourists as though their very survival depends upon it.

We seem to have this ‘it’s alright up ‘ere in the pool, come ‘an ave a gander for yerself’ attitude. We need to get smart and realise there’s money in them there tourists – and that’s not an invitation to gangs of pickpockets.

Taxi drivers are being trained to be nice to tourists, shops are slowly getting better. But you get this feeling that being over polite or too helpful is a sign if weakness. We are after all a northern, edgy, gritty city.

Strolling along one city centre street this week I spotted a sign in the doorway.... Toilets are for Customers Use Only. Please don’t ask as a refusal often offends. I have a rule. I never patronise any establishment displaying such signage because they annoy me.

We are attracting more customers on the back of culture year, but on a day-to-day basis through the summer are we as well organised as we could be? A while ago I wrote an article about the council planning auditions for street entertainers.

Such entertainers are few and far between, and if there were any auditions it is clear Simon Callow was not on the judging panel. Some buskers should be sent to Coventry, or better still inflict their earache on the good folk of Manchester.

The Beatles. Yes, I know they are not everybody’s cup of tea, but they are and will remain a largely untapped seam of gold. Wouldn’t it have been cool, for instance, if the city tourism chiefs had diverted some of the VIP hospitality dosh on hiring four lads to dress in Sgt Pepper outfits to act as tour guides. All four could have met up at given times, say 11am and 3pm, outside the Cavern for photocalls.

There just isn’t enough regular street theatre for the casual visitors to enjoy. Just the other day there was a promotional activity in Williamson Square for Ribena. Yes Ribena. Judging by the crowds flocking to the gig you would have thought it was a Second Coming. I bet people had more of a thirst for some entertainment than for a free cup of Ribena, nice as that fruit drink may well be.

In a global monitor that charts the best 150 city destinations in the world, we – yes Liverpool – are there, at 91, just ahead of New Delhi. Ahead of us, for some strange reason, is Manchester and Birmingham. The good thing is we beat Cardiff, Newcastle, Leeds and York. London was the world’s top city destination.

If only we could find the magic sparkle to give us an ambience the ‘pure’ tourism cities enjoy we would become unstoppable and unbeatable. Our anthem should be whether it’s The Beatles, football, arts and culture, nightlife or shopping We Love You Yea Yea Yea.

Like what you see? Enter your email to sign up for our newsletters which are chock-a-block with more great reviews, news, deals and savings.

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

I live in LiverpoolJuly 28th 2008.

Well fcuk off then!

Eleanor RigsbyJuly 28th 2008.

Liverpool won't give the Beatles the true credit they deserve because there is too much stupidity in this city. They wouldn't know an opportunity if it hit them in the face. If the Beatles had been born in the US they would have named an entire city after them. Sadly we are trapped in the clogg-dancing age here to realise what we have.

AnonymousJuly 28th 2008.

HiLiverpool is a lovely city, but it is just too small and parochial to compete with international cities like Manchester and Birmingham, which are the centres of massive city conurbations, with the infrastucture to match. In short there is more to do, and it is easier to get to surrounding attractions if you are in Brum or Manc...unless you really like swimming!

Catch_22July 28th 2008.

I do think Liverpool needs to up its game with regard to the attitude of those in the service sector. The number of times I've stood at a till utterly exasperated whilst listening for age to the one sided musing from some idiot as to why 'ar kell should dumb her bloke cause hes been at with that.....' or equivalent is unbelivable. I'd also say that Liverpool needs to get a better grip on what it aims to be, it is smaller than London & manchester but so what Brighton is tiny and is seen as one of the coolest places to live and visit in the UK, Bristol is another city that seems to be becoming a truly hip destination. Liverpool at the hands of some woefully un-talented individuals seems intent on actually doing away with what makes the city unique in favour of some identikit new town city centre plan! As for the Beatles thing whilst I'd agree its been handled badly I think that we've missed the boat. Not wanting to create massive contraversy but The Beatles are a baby boomer thing and as huge pull are going to wain, probably becoming more of a point of interest than sole reason for visiting. The powers that be should have been putting money and resources into foster a new counter-culture music scene.

R. KyvistJuly 28th 2008.

"Andy says..“ I notice that Sefton Wank Council" - Arf arf arf arf!

Jim McCabeJuly 28th 2008.

You make some valid points, Larry, but you fall into the trap of seeing the city as Beatleville. We all know about the Fab Four & what they did, but is that the only reason for tempting tourists here? If you really think that John, Paul, George & Ringo (boo, hiss!)"remain a largely untapped seam of gold", I suggest you think again. As for the thought of four local lads in Sgt. Pepper outfits greeting tourists, I despair, I really do; talk about reinforcing outdated perceptions & stereotypes! Talking of which, has anyone seen the plans for this year's Matthew Street festival? Pathetic.

Sharon OsbourneJuly 28th 2008.

Forget Simon Callow - the council should have put Simon Cowell on the board choosing street entertainers. At least then they would have had someone with cavalier disregard for talent to make the final decision. Last time I heard, that Simon Callow had talent.

BJJuly 28th 2008.

"Humor and laid back attitude of Liverpool and the people is what makes this city stand out".Can't really agree with that having lived in Manchester, London, and a few other cities. Don't get me wrong there are some great people who are funny and laid back, but you get those people in every city. And i agree with what jeffbadger says. About people's attitudes regarding tourists. Add that and a council that is absolute joke when it comes to organizing and actually doing something constructive or good (opening ceremony) Its probably why they got number 1 for worst council.

ColinJuly 28th 2008.

I don't think that's very fair, dear Leader, after all I have still maintained my global reputation as a fair-minded, ethical CEO whose integrity is unimpeachable. Even if I have monitored the Opposition Leader's mobile phone and broken all the council's own rules to award plum contracts to headhunters and lied about complaints to the Standards Board. That's all taken as fairly standard and totally acceptable behaviour after Sir Diddy's reign of terror.

Mutton dressed as lambananaJuly 28th 2008.

Do we really want to see more people given the great job satisfaction of dressing up as a hamburger or carrying a sandwich board advert like those unfortunate chinese men you see in town. Any store or business that thinks it a good idea to create such humiliating jobs deserves boycotting. Disneyland/world being the extreme example.

WarrenJuly 28th 2008.

It seems to...

AnonymousJuly 28th 2008.

Liverpool has so much to offer except for the 'Fashions' one sees walking the main streets. Truly, they are appalling. Another discusting habit is the folks who walk around eating from polystyrine cartons,or drinking alcoholin 'no drinking'Areas.

Phileas FogJuly 28th 2008.

Yes, there is a lot more to Liverpool than the Beatles. But Laz is right - any city would die to be the birthplace of the boys. If Shakespeare had been born here he'd be well forgotten by now.I went to Gracelands, thinking it would be tacky, and guess what, they do a brilliant job on the back of Elvis. We are too entrenched with our stuck-in-the-mud village mentality here in Liverpool. I'm not a big Beatles fan, but I can see the potential that we largely ignore. Anway I'm off to see what Bath's like.

I came to liverpoolJuly 28th 2008.

hahaha billy, thanks man, very thoughtful, I'll wear it with pride next beatles day! :o) As for "I live in liverpool", don't worry I have. I now live in a beautiful mansion in the middle of the Lake District funded from selling little banana's painted as lambs, and pasties :o)

Jim McCabeJuly 28th 2008.

Catch_22 is spot on. If just one quarter of the money & publicity given to the Beatle industry had gone the way of the Picket as it fought to save its base in Hardman Street, Liverpool could truly claim to be a city of music. As it is, the Picket has been moved on & the baby-boomer DJs on local radio still regale their comatose listeners with anecdotes about John Lennon drinking in The Grapes. Memo to sa(i)d DJs: Hey! You've Got To Hide Your Love Away.

Tricky WooJuly 28th 2008.

Lisa, you seemed so nice and and ordinary at the start of this rant. By the end of it, what have you become? Does Liverpool City Council have this effect on everyone?

that happeningJuly 28th 2008.

, eh?

AndyJuly 28th 2008.

I notice that Sefton Wank Council who tried to rid us of the Gormley's on a 'health & safety' ruse, now use said iron men on virtually every piece of marketing material they put out. Nuff said.

DigJuly 28th 2008.

I agree that there are funny and laid back people in every corner of the world. I meant Liverpool has a much calmer and laid back ambience throughout the city compared to Manchester and Brum. I did spend a lot of time in Brum when I had girlfriend from there. Definately can't say Brum is a better tourist destination than here. Manchester is impressive but it's too 'hustle and bustle' for my tastes. As for London, NOOOOOOO!!!!!

LisaJuly 28th 2008.

I've always found Liverpool to be safe and friendly, possibly because of the places in the city that I go to. I love Liverpool. Manch and London are too big and busy for me and I like that Liverpool is sort of huddled together and a little bit retro, although I love Manch and London too. Sorry, I'm supposed to be ranting aren't I? Okay, I agree Liverpool City Council is full of managers who are weird, evil nonces and a bit thick. Who are corrupt in the worst, most selfish, self-serving, thieving and indefensible way, and should be put up against the wall, come the revolution, and shot.

jeffbadgerJuly 28th 2008.

Couldn't agree more Laz there does seem to be a genuine distrust of tourists in the city. I think the problem is the attitude of 'you're not from our place - you don't get our place'. There seems to be a general defensiveness towards allowing non-Liverpudlians to enjoy the city that I just can't fathom. So many people from the area seem to be hugely proud of the city yet I suspect the damage of repeatedly hearing many people talk the place down over the years has led to a self-fullfilling prophecy whereby many are now unable to to fully allow non-locals to experience the place for (understable) fear that they will bad-mouth it. 'Tis a shame but hopefully this 08 shindig and increased media profile will help to break down old prejudices thereby bringing down the defences of many a proud scouser who no longer has to be on the back foot whenever anyone mentions their home city.

AnonymousJuly 28th 2008.

Further to my previous comments re: Manc/Brum. This wasn't a criticism of Liverpool. Manchester and Birmingham pale into insignificance in comparison with London as a tourist destination...for the same reason that Liverpool can't match the other two. If Liverpool worked with Manchester...which has the lion's share of hotel beds and tourist attractions in the region... then it would really take off. If you are from bigger countries eg the US,Oz,Canada, even Germany, or increasingly, Russia, the journey from Manchester to Liverpool is like popping out for a paper Sunday morning. United we stand...divided we fall. If you'll excuse the use of the word "United".Andy

DigJuly 28th 2008.

I for one would never swap my Liverpool for Brum or Manchester. I would never trade my lovely 'parochial' waterfront city for the hustle and bustle of those places. I have spent a lot of time around the U.K. and I'm not in any rush to visit Manchester or Brum again anytime soon. The humour and laidback attitude of Liverpool and the people is what makes this city stand out.

Billy the KidJuly 28th 2008.

It was me who stole your wallet. It was only meant as a joke though. I've bought you a Beatles wig with your dosh by way of an apology

C McClogglooseJuly 28th 2008.

Hi everybody as part of 2008 celebrations the Custard Company is delighted to announce Clog Dancing week at St George's Hall.

Sir Howard WayJuly 28th 2008.

True. there ought to be a dress code in the city centre. It is often said that a gentleman would give his hat a precautionary dust with the back of his hand before he walked on Bold Street. His tramp-like, post-Thatcher counterpart spits on the pavement then rummages in his outsize Eric Morecambe comedy shorts for his ‘Jazz Woodbine’ with which he stinks out the street with a stench of ‘skunk’.

ChasJuly 28th 2008.

Yes, I know! That was why it was very refreshing to read Confidential's pisstake on Beatles Day the other week. Events like Beatles Day are just a cynical, ill-thought-out exercise by people not from the place, who want to make a fast buck. Believe me!

Chas CoalJuly 28th 2008.

Andy, why have statues of Joe Gormley anyay? Arthur Scargill's would have been more appropriate.

BoredJuly 28th 2008.

Larry is a bit late with this....

Hilary BurrageJuly 28th 2008.

I'm still waiting for the public notices and directions in European (or any other) languages.....There's a v clear message to overseas visitors (not to mention the locals) in the absence of multi-lingual signs - even though some of us have been asking for this for years.It's EUROPEAN CoC year, but you wouldn't guess that from the signage, would you?It's not just (though it certainly is in part) the need for formal courtesy in receiving visitors. We need to up the game considerably on being actually helpful.

I came to liverpoolJuly 28th 2008.

and got my wallet stolen :o( saw someone get there head kicked in on the street while people watched, and got bombarded by nothing but beatles obsession. I agree with anonymous, manc and brum have much more to offer.

EUROPEAN Capital of CultureJuly 28th 2008.

was to go out and employ an Aussie and a Yank! - Stupid or just insensitive?)

To post this comment, you need to login.Please complete your login information.
OR CREATE AN ACCOUNT HERE..
Or you can login using Facebook.

Latest Rants

Anonymous

Repeating,without any evidence the same point that socialism = public services is hardly…

 Read more
Anonymous

You absolutely right,I hate all these bloody nimbys stopping development and progress.Of course if…

 Read more
Anonymous

Manchester's size and climate isn't dissimilar to Rotterdam or Dusseldorf but the city is held back…

 Read more
Anonymous

Straying off the point again David, which is that investing in public services is socialist but as…

 Read more

Explore The Site

© Mark Garner t/a Confidential Direct 2017

Privacy | Careers | Website by: Planet Code | SEO by The eWord