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Hull tourism is increasing, says new report

More international visitors are coming to Hull according to new figures which show tourism spending in the city has gone up by 6 per cent over the last year. It's thought there are now more than 16,000 tourism jobs in the city and the industry supports 1,800 local businesses.

Tourism is increasing in Hull, according to new figures Credit: PA

Culture Company chief predicts UK's biggest ever arts festival

The head of Hull's Culture Company has today outlined his vision for what can be achieved and how, on the first anniversary of the city being awarded City of Culture 2017.

Martin Green has been talking to Calendar's James Webster about his first six weeks in the job and the progress made since that big announcement.

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City of Culture plans ahead of schedule

The team organising Hull's year as UK City of Culture in 2017 says the planning is well ahead of schedule.

It is a year today since it was announced the city had beat off competition from Leicester, Dundee and Swansea to host the event and the council says it is already made an impact,

Visitor numbers and hotel occupancy are up and 14 new cafes and bars have opened in the city centre. Fiona Dwyer reports

MP questions Whitehall urgency over Hull's City of Culture plans

Hull MP Diana Johnson spoke in Parliament today, asking if there was enough urgency to make the city's City of Culture year a success.

Diana Johnson MP questions Whitehall urgency over Hull's City of Culture plans Credit: Press Association

A year ago today the city was awarded the honour for 2017 and the man in charge of organising it says he is assembling a world class team.

But, Ms. Johnson asked for a debate on how Hull can capitalise on the status with the help of the government:

Can we please now have a debate about whether there’s enough urgency and joined-up thinking across Whitehall to ensure that this national status for Hull is being used as an opportunity to get national arts, culture and sports events to Hull.

Secondly, redress the unfair funding balance between the North and the South.

And thirdly - and most importantly actually - ensure that Hull gets our privately financed rail electrification scheme to Hull by 2017.

– Diana Johnson MP

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World class team to deliver Hull's City of Culture year

The team responsible for delivering Hull's City of Culture programme will spend today updating people on their progress.

It is exactly a year since the city was told it would be the UK's culture capital in 2017.

Culture Company chief executive Martin Green says he will recruit a world class team for the project:

Regeneration tops agenda for City of Culture

The newly-appointed Chief Executive of the 2017 City of Culture company will tell business leaders that a legacy of regeneration is "top of the agenda" for Hull's year as the UK's cultural capital.

Martin Green, 2017 City of Culture Chief Executive Credit: ITV Yorkshire

Martin Green takes up his new role on October 1, but before then he will address the region's business community, alongside Hull: UK City of Culture 2017 Chair Rosie Millard, at a Bondholders breakfast this morning to mark the start of Freedom Festival, Hull's premier artistic and cultural event.

Rosie Millard, City of Culture 2017 Chair Credit: ITV Yorkshire

Mr Green, whose impressive track record includes being Head of Ceremonies for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, said major events such as the Olympics, Tour de France Grand Départ in Yorkshire and the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow were a powerful tool for regenerating cities and communities and transforming their image.

People are mistaken if they think that London had it all already. We got the Olympics not because we just wanted to put on the Games, but because we wanted to regenerate east London.

"In the five years I worked for London I was able to see that area physically change in front of me. The change in Stratford is sensational and that is all because we put a cultural event on.

"I am really glad to say we put that cultural event on really well, so it also had legacy in terms of memories, pride in the country and belief in ourselves that we can deliver."

"I believe we can do the same with Hull. The scale may be different, but the principles are the same - staging cultural events, bringing people into city centres, putting on things that people want to come and see and while they come and see them, they eat and they drink and they stay.

"It also builds the reputation of the place, so you get people saying 'I want to live in the city now' or 'they've clearly got a lot of creative people in that place, we should put one of our offices there'.

"It's all about changing misconceptions - it's often no deeper than that. If you can build on the pride people have for Hull it really changes how the city feels about itself and how it represents itself to the outside world.

"The legacy impact and regenerative impact is top of the agenda, because that is how we look at culture and delivering great events.

"Art for art's sake won't cut it. That doesn't mean you put on loads of boring stuff. What we will put on will be new, exciting, relevant, diverse and of great artistic worth, but we will always be looking at what we're doing within the agenda of what we've got to deliver before and, most importantly, after the year."

– Martin Green

The Bondholders is a fast-growing, private-sector led group of more than 230 member companies and other organisations that act as ambassadors for Hull and the Humber to encourage investment and job creation. The regular Bondholders breakfast events bring these ambassadors together to gain insight into new initiatives and developments within the region.

At the Freedom Festival Bondholders breakfast Mr Green will also urge local businesses to "join in" and invest in supporting the cultural programme.

We want to see a galvanised, proactive business community, which already exists in Hull, saying 'we don't need anybody's help to do what we need to do, we just need a hook to hang our investment on'. "The City of Culture company is going to give you 365 days of culture to hang your business strategies and plans upon. Engage and be proactive with us and everyone will benefit".

– Martin Green

The focus on legacy from 2017 will be underlined by Rosie Millard.

City of Culture needs to improve jobs and futures in Hull; and it needs to change perceptions of Hull.

"We will be generating work from within the city that is genuinely jaw-dropping and accessible and that can actually change lives and perceptions, just by exposure to it.

"Places can be transformed. There is a reason why City of Culture has come to Hull. City of Culture has regeneration qualities, which Hull needs."

– Rosie Millard

The Bondholders breakfast will be staged in the Big Top on the Freedom Festival site in Hull's Fruit Market. It will focus on how being UK City of Culture 2017 is acting as a catalyst for investment that will create a thriving environment for business.

Bondholders members will also hear from Hull City Council about how City of Culture is part of the overarching City Plan masterplan and details of specific projects such as improvements to Hull's public realm, plans for a major events and conference centre, and regeneration of the Fruit Market.

In addition, the meeting will showcase case studies of investment which are reviving Hull's waterfront and reinforcing its position as a focal point for Hull's creative community.

Grand Départ opening ceremony boss to mastermind Hull City of Culture

The man who masterminded the opening ceremony of the Tour de France Grand Départ is to be the Chief Executive of Hull's UK City of Culture.

Martin Green was also Head of Ceremonies for the London Olympic opening and closing ceremonies.

Green oversaw the opening ceremony of the Grand Départ in Yorkshire Credit: ITV4

From 2007 to 2012, he was Head of Ceremonies for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Overseeing a multi-million pound budget, he assembled the world-class team that delivered the truly spectacular ceremonies.

Green oversaw the opening ceremony of the Grand Départ in Yorkshire Credit: ITV 4
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