The ACC Liverpool Group welcomed the new chair of the British Tourist Authority – the Rt Hon Sir Patrick McLoughlin – to discuss the opportunities and challenges facing the region’s visitor economy.
Sir Patrick was joined by Lyndsey Turner-Swift - head of England Planning and Delivery at VisitEngland – and business leaders from the city region, to observe the VisitEngland We’re Good to Go accreditation compliance measures in place at the campus, as well as to discuss the impact of coronavirus on the visitor economy and recovery plans.
Among the many points discussed during the meeting at Pullman Liverpool, part of the ACC Liverpool campus, was the importance of tourism to the city region, the impact of Covid-19 on major events - including conferences and exhibitions - and priorities to get the visitor economy back on its feet.
Bob Prattey, chief executive of The ACC Liverpool Group, operators of the campus, said: “It was an honour to welcome Sir Patrick and to highlight to guests the measures we have put in place to ensure that we are able to offer a safe environment for bringing organised events, visitors and delegates back together again as soon as we are able to do so.”
While in the city, Sir Patrick attended a series of meetings with stakeholders including Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram, the Liverpool Hospitality Association, the LCR Visitor Economy Board, Liverpool City Council chief executive Tony Reeves and senior representatives from Southport, Halton, Wirral, St Helens and Knowsley.
Sir Patrick said: “ACC Liverpool is a stand-out venue supporting hundreds of jobs and a key part of the country’s valuable business events industry. I was very pleased hear from the team first-hand the hard work and planning underway and also to discuss with business leaders across the region on re-engaging with international audiences and rebuilding the business events and leisure sectors.
“The measures being put in place to welcome delegates back when it is safe to do so, including VisitEngland’s We’re Good To Go accreditation, ensuring a first-class event experience, means ACC Liverpool is in pole position to once again host leading international business events and to welcome thousands of delegates to enjoy Liverpool.”
Laura Pye, chair of the city region Visitor Economy Board and director of National Museums Liverpool, added: “It was a pleasure to welcome Sir Patrick to the city region today. The visitor economy has obviously been hit the hardest during this pandemic and this visit has given us an opportunity to discuss with Sir Patrick the challenges and opportunities our visitor economy is facing and what measures are needed to support the sector, which are so vital for our city region.
“As chair of the Visitor Economy Board for the city region we have been working tirelessly to ensure we have a robust recovery plan for the region, aligned with our stakeholder priorities, to ensure we can secure this sector, support our businesses and protect jobs to help our economy recover and grow.”
Last month, Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed that conferences, business events and indoor performances may be able to restart subject to the success of pilot events. The ACC Liverpool Group has joined regional business leaders to lobby the government for clearer guidelines around hosting conferences and exhibitions and is a member of the event industry initiative ‘Project Confidence’ consisting of partners across industry bodies ESSA (Event Supplier and Services Association), the AEO (Association of Event Organisers) and AEV (Association of Event Venues) in readiness for the return of events.
Through submitting its new Covid-19 secure operational plans and procedures, The ACC Liverpool Group has already received Covid-19 secure accreditation from VisitEngland, through its ‘We’re Good to Go’ industry standard and the Meetings Industry Association’s ‘AIM Secure’ standard for business events, as well as ensuring all operational planning is in line with the Government approved ‘All Secure Standard’.