Merseyside and North West tourism businesses in great shape as visitor numbers soar

Figures from the insolvency and restructuring trade body R3 show that the region’s hotels and tourism businesses now have the lowest risk of failure of any of the major sectors. Tony McDonough reports

Events such as the Pirate Festival help the Albert Dock attract millions of visitors each year. Picture by Tony McDonough

Restaurants, hotels and tourist attractions in Merseyside and across the North West are in top financial health, new data shows.

Figures from the insolvency and restructuring trade body R3 show that the region’s hotels and tourism businesses now have the lowest risk of failure of any of the major sectors which it monitors.

Liverpool city region’s visitor economy has grown rapidly in recent years and is now worth more than £4bn a year.

One of the city’s leading attractions – the waterfront Albert Dock complex – saw visitor numbers soar to a record 6.3m last year boosting the local economy by £13m.

Lower risk

R3’s data shows that just 19% of North West hotels are considered at above normal risk of failure in the next 12 months – the same proportion as holiday accommodation businesses, stately homes and historical buildings.

Among museums the figure is slightly higher at 20%. An exception is amusement parks, of which 29% in the region are considered at risk.

The figures show that other hospitality businesses are also on safer ground than in previous years, with just 21% of North West restaurants and 22% of pubs considered at higher than normal risk.

By contrast, in the most distressed sector, transport and haulage, 34% of businesses are at risk, while in technology and IT, 32% are at risk.

More visitors

The tourism figures are in line with the latest data from the Office for National Statistics which show that both the number of overseas visitors and tourism spending have reached record levels.

The UK received 2.9 million overseas visits in January, up 11% year-on-year, while tourism spending was up 15% on last year at £1.5bn.

Low pound

Paul Barber, the North West chair of R3 and a partner at Begbies Traynor, said: “A relatively buoyant national economy, together with the fall in sterling, has been a boost for tourism and leisure.

“The low pound has made the UK more attractive to overseas visitors, but has made it more expensive for Britons to go abroad.

“However, the figures mask the twin track economy. While Liverpool and Manchester are benefiting from the popularity of city breaks and have the advantage of many sporting and entertainment attractions, seaside towns like Blackpool and Morecambe still face various economic challenges.”

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