Developing tourism in Liverpool

Each year millions of tourists visit Liverpool, providing employment for many people in the city. Dave Jones, joint owner of Cavern City Tours, talks about the part he played in Liverpool's developing tourism industry in this video.

See more films and objects connected to working in Liverpool, from its time as a busy port up to the present day, in The People's Republic gallery.


Dave Jones: In 1979 I was reading the Liverpool Daily Post, and in the paper that day was an article asking for civic-conscious Merseysiders to enrol as tour guides. Blue Badge guides had never existed in the north of England prior to that, only in major destinations such as London and Bath and Stratford.

For many people locally, they just treated it as a joke - they didn't see Liverpool as having any chance of becoming a destination. Well, you only have to look at these great monuments like the cathedrals, the river, the ferries, the museums, The Beatles, the Cavern... It was endless. For me, how you couldn't join those things together along with the football clubs - it was just the easiest thing in the world to do. All you had to come up with was a marketing strategy.

The Beatles were the first big international marketing asset that this city had in its new life as a budding tourism destination. And, The Beatles Tour that we developed by coach, taking you from the city centre to the suburbs was the perfect introduction to Liverpool, and really, the success of them was overwhelming.

In 1990 we put to the owners of the Cavern Club that we'd like to take over the club. And for us it was, at that time, the final piece in the jigsaw puzzle. Because what we wanted to do was return the venue back to what it had been, which was an iconic live music venue that could offer people the cultural sound that they expected to hear.

It took Liverpool a long time to realise just what a tourism industry meant or could be to the city. It wasn't just about selling ice creams on street corners. It was about creating an infrastructure, providing people with all the services that they needed - hotels, bars, restaurants, theatres...

They were developing an industry which is creating unlimited amounts of jobs for people at many different levels. The contribution economically to the city that tourism has made, either in terms of investment or in jobs, is colossal.