For Hull, 2017 has been all about The UK City of Culture. Visits to the city have boomed. Hotel rooms have been at a premium. Perceptions have been changed.
So will the city slip back down the rankings again, once the City of Culture circus packs its bags and moves-on?
The answer is a simple “no” – reinforced by a reminder that the UK City of Culture is a title actually awarded to its host-city for FOUR years, rather than just one; and that the juggernaut set rolling in 2017 is now certain to keep powering along for many years to come.
One of the main legacies of 2017 is that the perception of Hull has changed forever. The city is now a cultural destination, boasting world class museums, galleries, theatres and venues – with locals willing to welcome visitors to share in their history and heritage, while enjoying good food, and a pint on the Real Ale Trail around the cobbled streets of the historic Old Town.
With a few more surprises along the way – and many more still to come – Hull has found a new confidence and a renewed reputation; and it has taken its place at the top table alongside many other regenerated and culturally vibrant UK cities.
The UK City of Culture title has played a key role in all of this, and over the next decade Hull plans to broaden its overall appeal to visitors while still drawing on its own intrinsic character and heritage shaped, in part, by its historic relationship with the sea.
Moving forward, it aims to build on its reputation as a “new” value-for-money destination, offering all of the vibe of a waterfront European city – with an independent and creative cultural quarter; cool and trendy areas – such as the Fruit Market at Humber Street; a world class art gallery; and a whole host of surprising and distinctive “only in Hull” experiences for the curious traveller.
A visit to Hull, these days, brings with it its own range of bragging rights for both younger “buzzseekers’, and more mature “explorers”.
But “why now”? Because something has stirred within Hull. A year of being The UK City of Culture has propelled it forwards; and Hull is inviting its visitors to continue on a journey of exploration where culture has bubbled to the surface, but where “authentic” experiences can still be found.
An initial branding process took place in 2015, when People, Place and Culture were found to be the clear trinity of core strengths that Hull had to offer its visitors. Today these still hold true, but with a renewed sense of confidence from City of Culture success, watch out now for even more of the same…
Over the next three years, for example, there are already ambitious plans to turn the ‘Place’ into a city where there is more to discover, and then into a domestic Bucket List destination within twenty years.
There’s a belief that the ‘People’, who have found their voice during their city’s big year in the spotlight, will become a new generation with a fresh outlook within twenty years.
The ‘Culture’, meanwhile, will be turned into a trailblazing journey over the next three years, and into a city making its own world-class culture within twenty.
Thanks to the success of the UK City of Culture scheme, Hull now faces a brave new world; and one which can be shared by visitors to the city as it evolves and develops over the coming decades.
But it’s all just getting under way, with a website already in place to aid and encourage more visitors to travel to Hull and back: http://www.visithullandeastyorkshire.com