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Liverpool John Lennon Airport (LJLA) has witnessed some strange visitors passing through its terminal over the years, however, the site of a 5ft high decorated Rhino sculpture, now located outside the front of the terminal building, has already started to generate a double take from the thousands of passengers and staff passing through the airport each day.
This latest addition to the various exhibits located at LJLA, is part of a joint initiative by the Airport, Visit Chester and Cheshire and Chester Renaissance, to highlight the Airport as a gateway for visitors to Chester and the surrounding areas as well as the city’s status as an international visitor destination and tourism leader.
The Airport Rhino, called ‘Tino’, forms part of the Rhino Mania public art event – a trail of some 62 beautifully decorated rhino sculptures, recently rolled out across the streets of Chester.
‘Tino’ was chosen from a selection of designs entered by local artists, schools and community groups and is the work of Cheshire artist Mike Kilkelly. It depicts a tiger’s coat on a rhino’s body, which the Airport sees as a good way to promote links with Chester and its famous Zoo where such animals can be seen.
Rhino Mania has been commissioned by Chester Renaissance and delivered by Wild in Art, the people behind Liverpool’s award- winning Superlambanana and Penguin trails. Rhino Mania is a ten- week, world-class public art event showcasing the wealth of artistic talent in the region that also boasts the biggest art-led education programme in the UK this year.
Liverpool John Lennon Airport recently moved into the top 10 of busiest UK airports and sees Chester and Cheshire as a key area to further grow its business. Some 200,000 passengers from the area already take advantage of their nearest airport at Liverpool, which now offers a choice of flights to over 70 destinations. However, the recent addition of further European services by airlines such as easyJet and Ryanair and the expansion of KLM’s 4 times daily flights to their Amsterdam hub, means that LJLA is now connected to over 650 worldwide destinations, opening up access to Chester and Cheshire to visitors from across the world.
Rita Waters, Chief Executive, Chester Renaissance said, "We are delighted at the enthusiasm all of our sponsors have shown throughout Rhino Mania, and are particularly thrilled with the partnership working between Chester and Liverpool Airport – a vital link for our international visitors.
"Chester welcomes nearly 8 million visitors a year and for many of those, LJLA is their preferred airport before travelling onward to our beautiful city, which for the next 10 weeks will be home for these wonderfully decorated Rhino’s. We very much look forward to a long and prosperous relationship with Liverpool and its JLA airport"
Neil Pakey, Deputy CEO of Peel Airports commented, "Chester and Cheshire is an area with great potential for the Airport both in terms of making Liverpool the airport of choice for locals looking to fly out from here and also to help attract lots of overseas visitors to Chester and Cheshire, using JLA as a gateway to the region.
"’Tino’ is just one public way of showing our commitment to the Chester area and is a great accompaniment to the other public art we have on show here at the Airport. We are already coming up with ideas as to how we can further develop this association with Chester and Cheshire after the Rhino Mania event has finished."
Chris Brown, Chief Executive, Visit Chester and Cheshire said, "We are delighted to have recently agreed a joint working initiative with the Airport and have no doubts that this will bring many mutual benefits. Their involvement in Rhino Mania is a tangible benefit already but it builds on the Airports previous support for the Cheshire Year of Gardens programme in 2008."
Rhino Mania is a mass-appeal public art event in Chester, with 62 rhinos beautifully created by the regions artists, running until 12 September
The event is presented by Chester Renaissance and Wild in Art, in Association with Bank of America and Cheshire West and Chester Council Presenting Partners are Chester Zoo, BiG Storage and the Northwest Regional Development Agency, with Visit Chester and Cheshire as Tourism Partner.
Rhino Mania incorporates the biggest arts education programme in the UK, with 116 mini rhinos designed and decorated by schools also being displayed around the region. It is supported by Bank of America and Cheshire West and Chester Council.
For more information, visit www.rhinomania.co.uk
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