THE boss of Gunwharf Quays says he’s gearing up to welcome more than 100,000 visitors this weekend as America’s Cup fever grips the region.
Centre director Colin Wilding is preparing for a surge in guests eager to take in the hub’s shops and restaurants during their stay.
And Mr Wilding believes that can only be a good thing for the region’s economy as the spotlight once again shines brightly on Portsmouth.
Today marked the beginning of activities in Southsea to celebrate the work of the 1851 Trust – the affiliate charity of Land Rover BAR – and volunteers involved in the World Series regatta ahead of the weekend’s elite racing.
Portsmouth-based challengers BAR – led by Olympic sailor Sir Ben Ainslie – will look to secure victory in the Solent ahead of the America’s Cup finals in Bermuda in 2017.
Speaking to The News at Gunwharf yesterday, Mr Wilding said: ‘It’s great to see the World Series back again.
‘We know that seeing Portsmouth on a global stage is very important for the city.
‘The interest we have had from our guests, and potential visitors to Gunwharf, has been terrific.
‘Provided the weather holds up for us this weekend, and we get the full series racing, the impact not just over the weekend, but afterwards, will be very strong for Gunwharf as well as the rest of Portsmouth.’
Mr Wilding says he’s confident more people will ‘gravitate’ towards Gunwharf after the races this year, given there is no evening entertainment programme being laid on by World Series event organiser Team Origin.
Provided the weather holds up for us this weekend, and we get the full series racing, the impact not just over the weekend, but afterwards, will be be very, very strong for Gunwharf as well as the rest of Portsmouth.Gunwharf Quays centre director Colin Wilding
Mr Wilding said: ‘We know we will be welcoming more than 100,000 people to Gunwharf this weekend.
‘It’s always busy the first weekend of the summer when the children are off school, but last year we saw an increase on the numbers we would normally see and that’s because of the America’s Cup.’
Gunwharf visitors will be able to watch the sailing on large screens. Bars and shops plan to run deals specifically around the theme of the America’s Cup.
Las Iguanas will be serving a Gunwharf Quays America’s Cup cocktail, using Goslings dark rum, gomme syrup, pomegranate juice and prosecco.
n Visitors to Southsea who want to protect themselves from the sun can get a free 150ml sample of Ladival non-greasy, spray-on protection cream when they buy a copy of The News from one of our designated sellers.
The Ladival range includes lotions and sprays at SPF 15, 30 and 50+, and is available at Boots, Lloyds Pharmacy, Asda and Well Pharmacy.
For just £1.50, you can get a bag containing The News, The i newspaper, a bottle of water, a spiral hat and the Ladival sun-cream.
n For tickets to the World Series race village – the area around the bandstand, Castle Field and the Skate Park – visit lvacwsportsmouth.com.
Entry to Southsea Common is free and picnics can be brought along.
Portsmouth City Council is putting up a big screen so guests can watch the races.