Page last updated at 13:22 GMT, Thursday, 11 December 2008

Culture boosts economy by 800m

A man examines a Gustav Klimt painting
Tate Liverpool was one of the most popular venues

Liverpool's year as European Capital of Culture boosted the regional economy by 800m, attracting millions of new visitors to the city, figures show.

The Liverpool Culture Company said the city welcomed 3.5 million first time visitors in 2008, representing a quarter of all tourists this year.

Culture bosses said 70% of people in Liverpool visited a museum or gallery - above the national average of 59%.

Tate Liverpool saw a record one million people walk through its doors in 2008.

The Merseyside Maritime Museum also enjoyed the same success.

The figures have been published by the Liverpool Culture Company in a report chronicling the highlights and the impact of the year.

Main attractions included the Tall Ships' Races, the Turner Prize, a Gustav Klimt exhibition and La Machine - the spectacular 50ft spider which trundled through the city in September.

Liverpool City Council leader Warren Bradley has already committed to maintain current funding levels for the arts over the next two years worth 8.2m.

Earlier this week a new Head of Culture - Claire McColgan - was appointed to lead a new 25-strong team from early 2009.

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