One year ago, Hull was celebrating joyously as we were announced that Hull had won the title of the UK City of Culture for 2017
So what has it done for Hull one year on? Are we already reaping some of the benefits?
The statistics show that we most certainly are: with £16 million worth of positive media coverage for the city, museum visits increasing by 54% during holidays or half terms and hotel bookings increasing by 15%, its hard to deny that Hull’s new title is already having some positive effects.
And Hull’s new Culture Company, set up to plan and organise the City of Culture programme, want to make sure that these positive effects continue: “The Culture Company has a huge responsibility to the city and local people to deliver a truly transformative year of events in 2017 and we are now putting together a world-class team to help them achieve that. Detailed planning and preparation will be the key to success and we will need everyone in the city to get involved, “ explained Martin Green, the culture companies Chief Executive.
“Local people, business, the Council and other public bodies are totally galvanised around the benefits that being the UK City of Culture could bring to Hull. Now it’s time for us to work together to make it happen.
“As curators and custodians of the city’s bid, we are passionate about raising the profile of the city, boosting public participation in the arts and using culture to support the rebirth of a great Northern city.”
To help with the lead up to 2017, the Culture Company will be holding a series of events in preparation for the ambitious plans. Putting Hull on the map is the aim of the game, with plans to make it a world-class, unique visitor destination with more jobs and a sustainable economy.
With visitor numbers up six percent in 2013 in comparison to 2012 and a record number of vistors to this years Freedom Festival, the numbers are already rising. And although we can already see some of the benefits, it’s only set to increase with visitor spend expected to grow by £184m between 2015 and 2020.
Colin Brown, Chief executive of The Deep in Hull said: “A year ago I was speaking at a big conference in London and began by saying ‘greetings from the City of Culture 2017’ – somewhat against my expectations everyone clapped and cheered.
“It was clear then that there is so much goodwill out there for Hull, and we are already seeing that translate into more visitors.
“The Deep is up 35 per cent on last year, and whilst a new penguin display doesn’t hurt, the first signs of rising visitor numbers can be traced back before their arrival to the City of Culture announcement.”
Winning the title has already made a huge impact to our humble City and with City Centre plans leading up to and going beyond 2017, we at JC Leisure sure hope the legacy of the City of Culture will last far beyond the City of Culture year.