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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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