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Resilience for both north and south in the visitor economy post pandemic

Above: the National Gallery, Trafalgar Square

How is the UK's visitor economy proving to be resilient since the end of the pandemic and is the bounce back being experienced outside London as well as in the Capital? How is the North surviving the impact of Covid-19 and can its' economy see strength across both sports and music events?

The Mayor of London's office has reported that the Capital's economy has roared back from the impact of the pandemic, with more than 300,000 additional tourists visiting the city and spending £162 million so far in 2023. The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan has also today revealed that over the last three years, his ‘Let’s Do London’ campaign - which encouraged tourists to visit the capital following the pandemic - has attracted over 850,000 additional visitors, who in turn contributed £360 million to London’s economy. It stated:

'This summer has been hugely successful for London, with a massive return of visitors enjoying the capital’s offering of attractions, gigs, events and fashion with the recent reopening of the National Portrait Gallery, the complete rehang of Tate Britain, and the opening of the new Young V&A children’s museum in East London which has doubled in attendance since reopening and renaming.

'In one week in July a plethora of musical talent – from the British Summer Time Festival in Hyde Park and Greenwich Summer Sounds to performances by Lana Del Rey, the Weeknd, and Blur– performed in London, bringing in more than £320million to the capital in ticket sales and secondary spend. This included sold-out arena gigs and smaller grassroots venues all across the capital.

'Last month, the fashion industry – which employs nearly 900,000 people in the UK and contributes around £21 billion to the UK economy –was boosted by London Fashion Week enjoying its largest schedule since the pandemic and the star-studded Vogue World: London event raising £2m for London-based arts organisations.

Meanwhile in Manchester, The Etihad Stadium has been confirmed as one of the host stadiums for the UEFA EURO 2028 competition that will be held in the UK and Ireland. The announcement follows UEFA’s decision to select the UK and Ireland as the competition’s hosts.

In total, ten stadia are due to host the UK and Ireland’s largest-ever sporting event with more than three million tickets set to be made available for the entirety of the competition.

Councillor Bev Craig, Leader of Manchester City Council, said:

'This is brilliant news for the UK and Ireland and for Manchester, which is known the world over as a great footballing city.

As well as giving fans of the sport the chance to get directly involved in world-class footballing action, it will provide a fantastic boost to the city's economy. We also know from hosting international matches in Manchester during last year's ground-breaking UEFA Women's EURO tournament how much young players get out of this, and the positive impact it has on them. Our goal for 2028 is to build further on this and help create a tournament to remember with a lasting legacy alongside it that helps further develop the sport from the grassroots up."

International music convention WOMEX will also be coming to Manchester next year after the city won its bid to host the prestigious global event on behalf of the UK and Ireland next autumn, 23-27 October 2024. WOMEX - Worldwide Music Expo - is the most international and culturally diverse music meeting in the world and the biggest conference of the global music scene. It takes place each year in a different European city and features a huge trade fair, talks, films and showcase concerts. While the daytime activities are reserved for music industry delegates, the live night-time music events will be ticketed and open to members of the public as well as delegates.

With Manchester Music City at its helm, Manchester's winning bid was led by the city council with partners Brighter Sound, English Folk Expo, Marketing Manchester, the hub, Factory International, Horizons, British Council and Arts Council England.

Hosting WOMEX will put Manchester firmly front and centre of the international music scene with the event expected to attract over 2,600 music professionals and performing artists from around 90 different countries. Its musical spectrum covers everything from the most traditional of music forms to the latest local underground, embracing folk, roots, jazz and local cultures, alongside urban and electronic sounds from across the globe. The convention will take place at venues across the city centre - with Manchester Central hosting the main conference and trade fair, and venues including Aviva Studios, Albert Hall, Bridgewater Hall and O2 Ritz all set to host live music showcases, alongside a programme of international films at HOME.


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