While there may be some conflicting opinions throughout the country regarding horse racing, there is no denying that events such as the Grand National are a staple of British culture. This institution was founded in 1839, with the inaugural event being won by a horse named Lottery – although the foundation stone was laid ten years earlier by William Lynn.
As over 150,000 people are expected to attend the Grand National at Aintree Racecourse this April, we expect there to be a huge business boost throughout Merseyside and perhaps even the rest of the country.
For those of us who have never attended the Grand National, the true scale of the momentous annual event is really quite difficult to grasp. While we may think attendees just turn up on the first day in fancy hats having checked Grand Opening Day horse race betting ready to watch their picks win, it’s far more complex. For instance, where are all of these visitors going to spend their nights and where are they going to eat?
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The truth of the matter is, hosting such a large sporting event affects the entire local hospitality industry. Plus, as the event is broadcast live in 84 countries and is watched by around 500 million people as the infographic below states, there is sure to be a knock-on effect that attracts even more visitors to Merseyside and possibly the rest of the UK.
Duncan Frazer, the commercial and marketing director for Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership, has stated in the past that the Grand National often benefits the region enormously as visitors from Britain and abroad gather in their thousands to enjoy the races. “Visitor economy businesses work hard to ensure race-goers have the best possible experience,” Frazer told EN, “which will hopefully encourage them to return in the future.”
Last year, a grand total of 152,665 people attended the three-day event with a record breaking 47,000 of those turning up on Ladies’ Day alone. This meant that many local businesses were flooded with tourists looking for accommodation, transport, food, shops, entertainment and attractions. The local hospitality industry experienced a huge revenue boost of over £10 million in April 2016, while Aintree itself turned over almost £30 million.
As for the national economy, due to the fact many tourists choose to stick around and explore more of our beautiful country after the racing festival has come to an end, there are lasting benefits. Each year, inbound tourism to the UK increases and it is thought that by the end of 2017 a total of £24.1 billion will be funnelled into the United Kingdom economy due to visitors from around the world.
While we here in the United States may rely on huge sporting events such as the Superbowl, it is clear that over in the United Kingdom the Grand National plays a huge role in Liverpool’s economy. Of course, the rest of the country embraces the influx of tourists that come to see the British racing festival; we would love to go over there and get involved in this English institution.