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News Was John Lennon in The Beatles ...? TOUR GUIDE DALE ROBERTS TELLS KATE LALLY HIS FAVOURITE QUESTIONS FROM TOURISTS.

Byline: KATE LALL

LIVERPOOL is an ideal destination for tourists. With our culture and heritage, unique attractions, sport offering, unrivalled music heritage and famously warm welcomes, it's easy to see why millions flock to the city every year.

In fact, there was a 3.9% increase in staying visitors to Liverpool last year. And the city's tourism has increased by 5% - to PS2.9 BILLION. This boom has led to, among many other things, an increase in the demand for tour guides and groups.

Tour guides play a valuable role in visitors' experiences of Liverpool, so we sat down with Dale Roberts - the city's youngest Beatles specialist tour guide - to hear some of his stories of touring the city over the past 14 months.

City Sights open-top buses are owned by Brookside star Phillip Olivier. Dale conducts nine tours a week, as well as managing the company.

The 27-year-old told the ECHO: "Tourists are absolutely great, I love working with them and I get a major buzz when I see them leaving the city in awe of how amazing Liverpool is. And they do ask brilliant questions."

Was John Lennon in The Beatles? "We tend to get a lot of people on board who know about Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields, but not much else about the Fab Four.

"I once was nearing the end of my tour when all of a sudden a girl said: 'So, you're telling me John Lennon was in The Beatles?'" Can you take us to the famous Abbey Road zebra crossing? "This is one of the most common questions asked by international guests. I always feel sorry for them when I tell them it is 21/2 hours away on the train from Lime Street."

Do you only get Liver Birds in Liverpool? What do they eat? No words.

Weren't The Beatles from America? "I will never forget being on the Albert Dock, chatting to a couple of Americans, who asked why Liverpool was so obsessed with The Beatles.

"When I told them it was because this was their home, they got really angry with me because they were adamant that The Beatles were from America and that they were an American band.

"Thinking they were joking, I laughed it off, which only angered them further until the point where they got so annoyed with me they decided to Google it ..."

Were The Beatles really that tall? "I have been asked many times if the statue of The Beatles on the Pier Head are the actual height of The Beatles.

"I always tell them that they were/are not 10 feet tall, but Ringo Starr's nose is probably to scale!" What is a Lambanana? "I get asked this on almost every tour and it's a fair question, I suppose."

"Of course, the Superlambanana is an original work of art by Japanese based artist Taro Chiezo and was created in 1998. The artwork reflects Liverpool's history as a port city, trading in commodities such as Lancashire wool and Fyffes bananas."

How many square feet is Sefton Park ...? "About a month ago, I had a lovely elderly lady on board, who half way around the route decided she wanted to know everything other than what I was talking about.

"She decided to ask me precisely how many square feet Sefton Park is while I had a full bus in front of me - 77 people. I told her I didn't have a tape measure on me, but I would go out at the weekend and let her know.

"She also asked me how old Maggie Mae was when the famous lady of the night was shipped off to the colonies in Botany Bay."

Will my car be safe parked around here or will it be on bricks when I get back? "You occasionally get these type of questions from domestic tourists.

"When I first heard these questions, I used to get annoyed and offended. These days, I laugh them off, because I can always guarantee when the people asking them leave the bus, they will be telling me how impressed they are with Liverpool as a city. That's what I live for these days, people losing the old stereotypes of Liverpool in just an hour and a half on our tour.

"The 68,000 people that have been on our buses have left stunned by our amazing city. And, while some of them have left surprised, the things they come out with leave me surprised, too." | City Sights Liverpool operates two tours - a multi-lingual city tour and a hop-on-hop-off city & Beatles tour. For more information, go to liverpool citysights.co.uk

CAPTION(S):

Superlambanana, the original

The Beatles: not actual sizePicture: JASON ROBERTS

Dale Roberts shows tourists John Lennon's childhood home, on Menlove Avenue, Mossley Hill
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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Article Type:Interview
Date:Sep 28, 2017
Words:799
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