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That means lost revenue to the city ‘probably touching £100m’ which would, he said, have come through hotels, restaurants, and bars.
Mr Prattey, CEO for ACC Liverpool which includes the M&S Arena, and the conference and exhibition centres, added: “It’s been a real challenge. We have had no business through our doors for 25 weeks.
“In terms of the rest of the current calendar year we have very few events coming through, certainly in terms of concerts and sporting events nothing is likely to happen until spring, middle of next year; and the conference programme has been devastated.”
The waterfront complex should currently be preparing for the Labour Party Conference which has been held in the city for the last couple of years, with 10,000 delegates arriving in the city and £19m worth of economic impact with hotels full, and news coverage from Liverpool going around the world.
“That’s a major blow,” he admitted, “to the Liverpool city region.”
He said they were trying to put on two exhibitions before the end of the year – one a car show – The Ultimate Show – and one ‘we all need to go to’, the Gin to my Tonic Presents the Christmas Drinks Show, but it had been difficult.
ACC Liverpool has seen voluntary redundancies – and he couldn’t rule out more – and 120 staff are currently furloughed.
But there is hope, he said.
There have been cost cutting operations to secure the future, and keep the business going: “We need to be ready for the recovery when it comes, so we can hit the ground running.”
And, in terms of support, he said he and his team were exploring every option with Liverpool City Council and Marketing Liverpool, and they had put in a major bid into Arts Council England for the Arena and its cultural programme.
“Some of our clients are having a crisis of confidence, in terms of whether they should do events, whether people will turn up for events, so we need to work behind the scenes with marketing Liverpool to build people’s confidence in the recovery and the return,” he said.
“Looking to the future, clearly a lot of the events that we have had cancelled or postponed have moved into next year so if there is any abatement in Covid then clearly we can hit the ground running and potentially have a good year next year.
“It’s difficult to remain optimistic in the current climate but we just have to keep going.
“I hate the phrase but it is what it is and we need to work closely with everyone and that’s one of the benefits of what’s happened, that organisations and bodies and companies in Liverpool are working more collectively than I can recall. And when Covid comes to diminish and we are able to start again, we are hopefully going to have a very busy order book.”
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