Masterplan aims to bring more tourists into Portsmouth

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A FRESH strategy has been unveiled aiming to make Portsmouth the premier visitor destination on the south coast, The News can reveal.

Cultural leaders want to boost the number of visitors pouring into the region by five per cent to 9.7m a year by 2019 – and get millions more to stay and spend their cash in the region.

It’s about continuing to make sure we are reaching our target audience and working with the major attractions.

Jane Singh

A comprehensive glossy guide celebrating everything Portsmouth has to offer has been created for visitors and distributed to help ensure the aspirations become a reality.

Council officials have joined attractions including the Spinnaker Tower in selling Portsmouth to more than 40 countries around the world at Explore GB – Visit Britain’s flagship international marketing event.

Extra effort is to be made to attract wealthy London visitors so they will spend their cash in the city – following on from the success of a London Underground advertising campaign in 2016.

And local taxi drivers have been called upon as part of the strategy to become ‘city ambassadors’, advising visitors where the best places to visit and stay are.

Leading the major drive, Jane Singh, Portsmouth’s visitor services and development manager, said: ‘We had a previous strategy that had come to the end of its life.

‘We needed something to move forward.

‘Technology is moving all of the time.

‘This is really important for the local economy, as tourists bring in £600m, helping to support local jobs.

‘Thanks to tourism, 12,500 people are employed locally.

‘We don’t want to stand still, we have to keep going.

‘There is a real feeling of change internationally.

‘When I went to a trade show in Holland, for the first time, Portsmouth was as well known as other major UK destinations.

‘People were saying “we know about Portsmouth”, in the same way they do about a place like Brighton, which is a real turning point for the city.’

Another key aim of the strategy is to boost the number of visitors coming to stay to 784,000.

‘We know we already have really good visitor figures’ Ms Singh said.

‘And we are looking at a five per cent increase by 2019.

‘It’s about continuing to make sure we are reaching our target audience and working with the major attractions.

‘It’s important everyone works together across the city.

‘It’s building on the offer already here.

‘Next year, we will have the new D-Day Museum, the QE carrier will be a real driver for tourists.

‘The Royal Marines Museum is moving into the dockyard, there will be lots of growth.’

The guide the council has created lists the top visitor attractions in the city and sets out what visitors would see while they are here.

Councillor Donna Jones, leader of Portsmouth City Council, formally approved the city’s latest masterplan to boost aspirations and bring about an economic boom to the benefit of residents and tourists.

She said: ‘The target of increasing visitors by 9m by 2019 is an achievable one.

‘We have a number of landmark events coming up like Victorious Festival and Mutiny Festival – both of which have gone from strength-to-strength.

‘We are also hoping to bring in some sporting activities and another America’s Cup World Series.

‘But as well as all these big events, there are other things we need to do like a comprehensive marketing campaign.’

Cllr Jones added it was important to promote the city and create the right brand to bring in businesses and visitors.

‘We are looking forward to rolling up our sleeves and getting to work on taking Portsmouth to the next level,’ she said.