Being UK Capital of Culture

By | Category: Travel rumblings

Now that Coventry has been awarded the title what impact can the award bring to the city?

By looking at what Hull has achieved it is possible to work out what Coventry could be set to achieve if it can emulate the success of Hull. To sit back on your laurels having won the award is unacceptable. Arranging a few events is unacceptable. Doling out an award or two or erecting a few plaques of local worthies is also unacceptable.
What will be necessary from Coventry is a commitment to work seven days a week to achieve all it can. But the benefits can be substantial and not just in monetary terms.

Earlier this year, the tourism minister, John Glen, said that when Hull bid for the title, little more than a third of residents had participated in the arts. At the time of his speaking, nine out of 10 residents have attended or experienced a cultural event or activity as part of Hull 2017. For locals then, latent interest had been awakened by the honour and a greater awareness of what “culture” encompasses had been found in the city.

In the first three months, Hull saw about 1.4 million visits to more than 450 events and activities. There were half a million visits to Hull’s museums and galleries in the first four months of the year and, in a poll, 70% of residents said that Hull being the UK city of culture is positively affecting their lives.

It is estimated that the economic boost had been to the tune of £60 million and that was made long before the year ended so the final figure could be higher. Hotel occupancy was up by 14% and train journeys up by 17%. Almost 90 new businesses and 550 new jobs had been created.

This is the legacy of Hull and the challenge facing Coventry. It has a few years to plan what it will do and then the hard work and fun will begin. In 2022, the question should be not whether Coventry can match Hull’s achievements but if it can beat them.

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