Liverpool City Region mayor Steve Rotheram has said the Eurovision Song Contest will be a “shot in the arm” for the local economy following the pandemic.
Mr Rotheram said he expected the events taking place across the city around the main arena live shows to result in £40 million of gross value added.
Liverpool has been transformed with public artworks and installations for the international music competition, which the UK is hosting on behalf of Ukraine amid the Russian invasion.
Speaking at Liverpool Lime Street train station as hundreds of fans arrived for the contest on special services from London and Birmingham, Mr Rotheram told the PA news agency the impact was “already massive”.
“We estimate about 40 million of GVA (gross value added) over the next few days and that is enormous because we have gone through the pandemic and problems that we had with those bars and restaurants (being closed).
“We all know what has gone on so this is a real shot in the arm for the economy.”
Mr Rotheram admitted he was not a Eurovision “aficionado” but said he had heard the UK had a “good chance” of winning, alongside Finland and Sweden.
He said he had spoken to the Ukrainian ambassador and the mayor of Lviv, in western Ukraine, who he said would be attending the event in person.
“What they wanted was that Ukrainian flavour,” he said.
“We have gone much further than that.
“Let’s be honest. It should not be here. It should be in Ukraine. We don’t forget that.
“And I think it is really important that the Ukrainian people understand that whilst we are the hosts half of this is with them in mind, even though it is being placed here in this beautiful city of ours.”