Liverpool City Council’s Culture Liverpool said its outdoor light trail River of Light had a significant positive impact on local footfall as it hosted 250,000 people across 17 days.

The light trail on Liverpool Waterfront, which is supported by Arts Council England, is a 2km loop, featuring 10 large-scale light and sound artworks from local, national and international artists.

Running from 21 October – 6 November, this year’s trail paid homage to the World Gymnastics Championships 2022 which took in the city at the same time. It featured an installation by design and fabrication studio Lucid Creates.

Shopping centre Liverpool ONE said that when the event started at 5pm each evening it saw a 27% increase in footfall compared to 2021, and in the same timescale, its stores were boosted by an additional 6%. In the period River of Light was on, it welcomed 1.7m visitors to its stores, and overall sales were up at least 5%. Data is still being processed so this figure could increase.

Liverpool BID Company reported a significant increase in Church Street footfall day-on-day compared to 2019 – with the October event dates proving to be the busiest. Weekdays experienced an increase of nearly 70% and at weekends it was up by 42%.

Royal Albert Dock Liverpool also welcomed the additional evening visitors with many businesses on the estate noting a boost in sales. A full impact report on River of Light, which will include feedback from visitors, will be released in the new year.

Assistant Mayor and Cabinet Member for Culture and Visitor Economy, Councillor Harry Doyle, said, “River of Light is a beautiful, established tradition in this city and it’s wonderful to see the event go from strength to strength each year. I always try to visit this event as a punter, and I loved my experience this year. I’m delighted, but not surprised, by these initial figures and I look forward to seeing the full impact report in due course.“

Liverpool BID Company CEO and Liverpool Visitor Economy Network (LVEN) chair Bill Addy said, “River of Light helps to attract so many visitors to the city, engaging with beautiful art and everything the city centre has to offer.

“For our businesses it helps to showcase the mixed economy that makes Liverpool so vibrant. There’s something for everyone and when we increase footfall numbers and give everyone something to smile about and enjoy it has a positive impact on our economy as well.”