Ideas include tackling litter, better transport and a hotel tourist tax
By now everyone has heard the news - Liverpool will host the Eurovision Song Contest 2023. It’s going to be huge, it’s going to be fun, it’s going to be in our city. But what might this mean for those of us who live and work in the Merseyside region, and how can we ensure that its legacy lasts longer than the inevitable hangovers and consistently finding glitter in your shower tray?
We asked Twitter users what they wanted to see happen before we open our doors and welcome in Europe’s finest (and Australia).
While Sam Ryder’s barnstorming performance of Space Man in Turin was the best performing UK entry since 1998 and won the jury’s vote, the winners on the night were Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra and we’re really only looking after the contest for them. Ukraine’s blue and yellow flag is already a familiar sight around Merseyside but come May, it’ll surely be competing with the Liver Birds on our rooftops.
Twitter user Interested Party thinks we should “prioritise tickets for Ukraine passport holders. Make the event as Ukrainian as possible. Let's not forget whose Eurovision this is.” Let’s hope we can do Ukraine proud.
Prioritise tickets for Ukraine passport holders. Make the event as Ukrainian as possible. I get the whole Liverpool music heritage and party city hype but let's not forget whose Eurovision this is. Make it crystal clear throughout.
— Interested Party (@Interes97959413) October 8, 2022
Sort out public transport
With hotels in the city booked up in the blink of an eye, there’ll no doubt be lucky ticket holders who will need to get to the M&S Bank Arena and ACC in King’s Dock from further afield. But ever since lockdown, we haven’t had a night bus to and from the Wirral.
Chris Malburn suggested, “there are likely to be attendees staying in any hotel they can find - including New Brighton and Hoylake, and trying to get back after a night out. Later running buses and trains would be good for locals too.” And of course, getting from the airport to the city centre isn’t always a straightforward process: “It's not a good experience for visitors or locals - there are always tourists wandering around trying to figure out what bus they need,” Chris added.
Twitter was also hoping to see the new Merseyrail trains in place, the new Baltic Station fast tracked for completion and free commuter ferries. There were also some suggestions that one of the tunnels should be opened to cyclists - but would hundreds of drunk cyclists at 3am dressed in sequins and feather boas be a recipe for disaster or the most scouse thing ever?
Tourist tax on hotel rooms
Back to those hotels. With stories of rooms and suites reaching £20,000 for the weekend in May next year - and selling out - it’s certain that there will be an economic benefit somewhere along the line. But where does that money go? Some supported the idea of skimming just some of that money off for the city’s depleted coffers in the form of a tourist tax. Danny Blix said: “Every time I visit The Netherlands, no matter what city you stay in, you pay the tourist tax. Definitely need it here too.”
Every time I visit The Netherlands, no matter what city you stay in, you pay the tourist tax. Definitely need it here too.
I always forget I have to pay it but it doesn't stop me visiting again and again.
— Dan (@dannybliz) October 8, 2022
Big up our independent bars and restaurants
It’s been a tough couple of years for the hospitality trade in Liverpool, and many independent businesses will be hoping Eurovision will act as a much needed lifeline. David Harris thinks there should be “info about locally owned restaurants, hotels, etc in tourism promos” and Gabe Hackett agreed: “use it to promote and endorse all the excellent independent restaurants, bars and shops we are so lucky to have here.”
[Ed - Now seems like an appropriate time to remind readers you can always find the latest restaurant reviews here at Liverpool Confidential.]
Sort out the litter
For a while, Bill Bryson’s famous description of Liverpool as holding a “festival of litter” during his visit here seemed to have dropped out of common parlance, but lately it seems like it’s been back on everyone’s lips. After a city-wide inspection of more than 300 sites this year, Keep Britain Tidy found Liverpool’s litter and graffiti to be three times the national average.
“The streets are permanently sticky. They need cleaning more,” said Matthew on Twitter. Many agreed with the Dusty Teapot when he said: “I asked my many Hungarian friends what they liked about Liverpool and all said ‘the people’ and what they disliked and they all said ‘the litter’”.
Others gave examples of cities they’d travelled to that put Liverpool to shame in the cleanliness stakes, so before thousands start making the reverse journey it looks like a big clean up is in order.
The streets are permanently sticky. They need cleaning more. The city centre is a dump these days, more than ever. Things got better in the 90s and early 00s but it's gone to shit since.
— Matthew (@zidanzig) October 8, 2022
Far be it from us to accuse someone of a lack of patriotism over an innocent tweet but could Gregory Lynch’s wish for a Liverpool branch of IKEA in time for Eurovision be a sign his allegiances lie with our Swedish competitors?
“Still sore that the 2005 proposed Switch Island one didn’t go ahead!” he said. But maybe with the blue and yellow theme and Abba association, watching the contest from a Poang armchair with a plate of meatballs is the most fitting way to enjoy it.
— Gregory Lynch (@greglynch85) October 8, 2022
What would you like to see improved, fixed, changed or added to Liverpool’s cultural offer before we appear before up to 200 million viewers? Leave a comment and let us know.
Words: Helen Wilkie @wilkieleaks
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