Liverpool lays out plans for the future

Liverpool aims to be "firmly established among the top 25 conference cities in Europe" by 2012, according to ambitious plans laid out by the Mersey Partnership, an alliance of more than 370 local businesses. The plans, which include a multi-purpose convention centre with capacity for 1,500 plus new city icons such as a statue of Poseidon at the mouth of the Mersey and a waterfront regional park, are outlined in a strategy document called The Liverpool City Region: Winning Tourism for England’s North West – A Vision and Strategy for Tourism to 2015. The convention centre is already at the planning stage and is expected to open for 2008. Neighbouring Southport is also predicted to become a leading UK destination for association business, with a refurbished conference centre with on-site hotel. Mersey Partnership director of operations Chris Brown said Liverpool hopes to position itself as "one of the UK’s most varied and vibrant destinations for conferences". An action plan will be published later this year. In June, the city, designated European Capital of Culture 2008, became the first UK destination to host the International Congress & Convention Researchers Meeting.

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