Merseytravel/TMP encouraging Indian tourism

Michael Hunt

Transport authority Merseytravel and tourist attraction The Beatles Story are launching a campaign to establish Liverpool as a favourite UK destination for Indians.

The campaign is being supported by regional tourist board, The Mersey Partnership, which targets major Indian tour operators and potential visitors, in conjunction with VisitBritain.

Last year over 400,000 Indians visited the UK with less than 1% traveling to Liverpool.

As part of the campaign, the Beatles Story will host a Liverpool-themed festival in India's capital Delhi this month.

Delhi has strong links with The Beatles. The band visited the city several times in the 1960s and Pete Best's mother, Mona Best, was born there. She set up Liverpool's famous Casbah club which was instrumental in the formation of The Beatles, giving the band their first proper residency.

Jerry Goldman, managing director of the Beatles Story, said: "Our aim is to encourage Indian tourists visiting London to include Liverpool in their trip. We're pushing the fact that it is faster getting from London to Liverpool than traveling from one side of Delhi to the other."

"For the third year running Indian tourists to London outspent their Japanese counterparts, spending £149m in the capital in 2008. The Indian tourist market has huge potential for Liverpool and we want to push the city sky high as a must-see destination for Indian visitors."

Neil Scales, chief executive and director general of Merseytravel, commented: "Tourism is vital to our region's economy and we need to maximise every opportunity to increase our market share of visitors to the UK. We need to explore new and emerging markets and make sure they are aware of our world class attractions."

Other elements of the promotional campaign to Indian tour operators include:

  • A visit to Liverpool for leading Indian tour operators and journalists
  • A major workshop for tour operators in Delhi lead by the Beatles Story and VisitBritain
  • A VIP and media event at the British Council in Delhi with a starring performance by the Pete Best Band

The Beatles Story is also eyeing the Australian and US markets. 900,000 Australians visit the UK each year and over 3.5 million Americans. Again less than 1% make their way to Liverpool

Goldman claims that the Indian campaign has been a great example of how private and public sector bodies can work as a team to promote Liverpool. He added: "If over five million visitors each year have already decided to visit the UK, surely it can't be that difficult to persuade a reasonable proportion of them to make the trip to Liverpool."

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