Beatles tourism industry pioneers to be honoured by Liverpool as "Citizens of Honour"

Liverpool City Council
The pair "feel a huge sense of pride and emotion" that their work has received this level of recognition. Credit: Liverpool City Council

The two men who have been credited as the pioneers of Liverpool's iconic Beatles tourism industry are to be honoured by the city.

The Managing Director of Cavern City Tours, Bill Heckle and its President Dave Jones, will be made Citizens of Honour.

There will be a special ceremony at Liverpool Town Hall on Thursday, 11 August. The pair have worked in the Beatles tourism for the past 40 years.

Bill trained to be a Beatle guide in 1982 and after forming Cavern City Tours in 1983 he was joined by Dave in 1986.

In 1991 the pair acquired the Mystery Tour and also The Cavern Club. They transformed the iconic Cavern Club venue from a closed building into a major live music venue and hugely popular tourist attraction.

In addition, one of their proudest achievements was to organise the Hillsborough Justice Concert at Anfield stadium, in 1997, which helped to raise more than £500,000.

The money raised was used to pay for the legal costs for the families in their pursuit of the truth into the 1989 football disaster.

Over 40,000 people attended the event at Anfield. Credit: Liverpool City Council

Bill Heckle and Dave Jones also acquired an iconic and historic building in North John Street which became the Hard Days Night Hotel.

Having already unveiled a statue to John Lennon in Mathew Street, in 2015 they also gifted the city a statue of The Beatles.

Situated on the waterfront, the figures of John, Paul, George and Ringo walking on the Pier Head has become one of the most photographed landmarks in England.

Beatles related tourism is estimated to be worth approximately £100m to the Liverpool economy each year.

It attracts more than 600,000 visitors each year and supports almost 2,500 jobs in the city.

Lord Mayor of Liverpool, Cllr Roy Gladden said: "Liverpool’s tourism industry owes a huge debt of thanks to Bill Heckle and Dave Jones.

"They had the vision to recognise the potential of the city’s unrivalled musical heritage in attracting visitors and their legacy is all around us every day of the year."

Dave Jones said: "When Bill Heckle and I first started working together our aims and objectives were simply based on our belief and passion in Liverpool.

"Our success over the past four decades has been driven by vision and taking every opportunity we have been given to develop Liverpool’s Beatles industry

"We never set out to receive awards and accolades.

"To be nominated for Citizen of Honour awards is amazing. We feel a huge sense of pride and emotion that our work has received this level of recognition", Jones added.