Last month residents in Paisley were overjoyed to find that the town had made the shortlist for the 2021 City of Culture.
Those behind the bid now face an agonising wait until the final decision is made in December. But with strong competition from the likes of Sunderland, Stoke, Swansea and Coventry, it seems as though Paisley faces a real challenge.
Paisley is now the only Scottish entry for this prestigious accolade after Perth was edged out of the running. What’s significant about the competing cities is that they are all industrial metropolises in decline that will be keen to use the economic benefits of the accolade to boost their fortunes.
This year it was Hull that was awarded the City of Culture prize. And although the benefits to the city are difficult to calculate, it’s clear that Hull has successfully boosted its profile and diversified its cultural activities as a result of this year’s endeavours.
Those behind Paisley’s bid have already outlined how they hope that being awarded the City of Culture accolade could bring in an economic boost of £172 million and create 4,700 jobs over a ten year period.
It is also expected that a successful bid could have many benefits that reach far beyond the Renfrewshire town. Most notably nearby Glasgow would hope to enjoy many more visitors to its vibrant bars, restaurants, casinos and clubbing attractions, and Glasgow Airport which resides within Paisley’s boundaries could also benefit from increasing passengers.
But it’s diversifying the attractions within Paisley that will be the real test of the City of Culture. Whilst Paisley Abbey, Barshaw Park, Coats Observatory and Paisley Museum and Art Galleries all attract plenty of visitors, there are other culture and entertainment areas that could benefit from the City of Culture accolade.
Whilst any investment would mean that people would still probably have to visit a website site like InterCasino in order to enjoy welcome bonuses and casino games without having to travel to Glasgow, it’s thought that the 1.7 million potential attendees for Paisley’s potential year of being City of Culture could help transform the perception and fortunes of the town.
It would undoubtedly seal what has been a remarkable story of success for the region in recent years. With Glasgow hosting the 2014 Commonwealth Games and looking forward to the 2018 European Championships, a City of Culture accolade for Paisley would be a very welcome bonus for this wonderful area.