Gordon Brown & New Cities of Culture
Following on from yesterday’s blog on the success of Liverpool as one of the 2008Cities of Culture, I thought which city this year.
As is now the custom there are two, Vilnius in Lithuania and Linz in Austria. Linz is twinned with Edinburgh but as far as I can see, Vilnius is not twinned with any UK city. As would be expected, both have a series of special events to celebrate the year.
But it is not only Europe that has cities of culture. Since the nineties the idea has been copied elsewhere and in the Americas, this is the year for Asuncion in Paraguay which is not that easy to get to from the UK. There is also an Arab City of Culture each year and this year it is Jerusalem, the Palestinian part although given what is happening in that area at the moment, I am not sure how many new tourists might be attracted. I can’t see that Asia has adopted the idea yet but do correct me if I am wrong.
So when will it be a British or Irish city again? Since the European city idea began there have only been two cities, Glasgow in 1990 and Liverpool. Ireland has had just one, Cork. Decisions have been made for years in the future so the first time it could be a British or Irish city again would be 2020 which is a long way off.
Yesterday, the Prime Minister was in Liverpool. For the first time that I can remember he spoke about tourism (well it might have been a throw-a-way line but the word did pass his lips) He said that tourism was an area to be expanded so maybe, as a first step, he can encourage the tourism minister, Barbara Follett to sit down with Andy Burnham and make having a British city of culture happen.