As city hall officials in Liverpool estimated Monday that 1.3 million people watched the final ever performance by the world famous French arts company's giants, an academic report by experts said the city is still reaping the rewards of it being European Capital of Culture in 2008.
The four-day visit from France by the Royal de Luxe giant puppets was one of the highlights in Liverpool to mark the 10th anniversary of its culture years, experts said.
A major new study by the Institute of Cultural Capital (ICC) published on Monday said the national and international reputation of Liverpool continues to be influenced by European Capital of Culture a decade on.
Analysis of media coverage, assessment of the city's cultural assets, its government and leadership, as well as focus groups and door-to-door surveys in selected representative neighbourhoods, position 2008 as the year when external narratives changed and citizens' sense of pride substantially improved.
The study has been carried out by Dr Beatriz Garcia and a team at the ICC, a collaboration between the University of Liverpool and Liverpool John Moores University.
Garcia said: "Our research proves how over the last ten years, Liverpool has asserted its cultural renaissance. The way the city sees itself, and is seen by the rest of the country, has been transformed and sustained over more than a decade, with culture being seen unmistakeably at the heart of the city's rebirth."
She said there has been a growth in national confidence and stronger appreciation of Liverpool as a desirable cultural center with a more promising future than was the case pre-2008.
"Liverpool has consolidated its position as a tourism destination, and is now the fifth most listed UK city for international visitors," said Garcia.
The findings will be presented as part of a major international symposium being hosted in Liverpool on October 18 and 19.
In total, 44 percent of residents surveyed in four representative neighbourhoods felt Liverpool is viewed positively after 2008, a significant increase on 2007, when the figure was just 27 percent. The same survey revealed that 90 percent of respondents agreed that Liverpool has become a more creative city over the last decade, with 60 percent also indicating that the 2008 culture year had an impact on their lives.
But the report also highlighted that Liverpool was continuing to lag behind core city averages for employment rates, Gross Value Added (GVA), productivity and qualification levels. It cites ongoing challenges, particularly around cuts to funding and the impact of austerity.