2) The Beatles Industry Today
The Beatles industry has gone from strength to strength in
recent years. It has grown from grass roots level into a dynamic sector within Merseyside. Tourism over a period of 16 years. What is surprising is that this
growth has been achieved largely unaided. The industry is not a hugely
profitable one and this fact can be borne out with references to the large
number of businesses who have entered the industry, with the expectation of
instant returns, by merely applying the name Beatles to a product or service,
only to fail within a matter of months.
Three businesses have survived since the early 1980s and
today they are the only major players in the Beatles industry, namely Cavern
City Tours Ltd, The Beatles Shop and The Beatles Story (which evolved out of
Beatle City). The fact that they remain active is due to a combination of three
- That there is a demand from tourists for a Beatle
- The firms who entered the industry to make 'quick
money' and were not committed to the industry nor to the area have been
weeded out and no longer operate.
- Importantly, these three businesses have invested
their own money and resources into the industry and future. It has been
recently recognised at Liverpool City Council meetings that:
- The Beatles industry has been largely neglected by
the public sector and it has been under-funded and under-supported.
- The Beatles industry has enormous potential for the
Market research by the Merseyside Tourism and Conference
Bureau has determined that The Beatles are synonymous with the city (especially
abroad) even more so than Liverpool Football Club despite their enormous
international success. In answer to the simple question "what does
Liverpool mean to you?", the most common response was: "The
Beatles". The Beatles are part of the history not only of the region, but
of the whole world. The Beatles mean originality, genius, talent, humour, and Liverpool.
We must capitalise on our direct links with the most important and successful
entertainment phenomenon the modern world has ever witnessed. On a visit to The
World Travel Market in London, the largest travel trade fair in the world, it
was interesting to see that the City of Detroit was represented (not a typical
tourist destination, but funding was found from somewhere to attend such an
important travel fair) and that unashamedly and to great effect, their
exhibition is known for, its association with Motown records (Motor Town =
Motown) and videos and displays of The Temptations and Stevie Wonder were
visually dramatic. It made the visitor immediately interested in the exhibition
and ultimately, hopefully, the region. Dallas did a similar marketing ploy
utilising a JR clone and a video of Southfork. With an international audience,
both exhibitors played their strongest hand. With this competition, our display
highlighting West Kirkby and Croxteth Country Park cannot compare. The Americans
had left us standing in terms of presentation, selling, promotion and impact.
One wonders at the exploitation, or utilisation of The Beatles had they been
The Beatles are a world-wide phenomenon, perhaps even The
world-wide phenomenon. We must now utilise this
asset to the benefit of the city, but three small independent businesses cannot
market world-wide as the finance just does not exist. The industry needs
extensive, short-term pump priming over a five year period in order to
eventually stand alone and develop throughout the next century. This support is long
overdue and the impact that such funding will have will be dramatic. The
industry is here to stay and parallels with Shakespeare's Stratford are obvious.
The return for Liverpool will be measured in terms of employment, income
generated, infra structure and image building.