PORTSMOUTH International Port has been the focus of businesses from across the south.
Firms were invited to the port to find out how its continued success is helping to shape the region and boost the economy.
Managers at the port are forecasting a 32 per cent increase in its cruise business this year.
Though the port’s cruise business is not on the scale of Southampton’s, which hosts hundreds of visits a year, Portsmouth’s increasing success has helped boost the UK’s cruise passenger figures by 10 per cent.
During yesterday’s event, delegates from the transport, hotel, restaurant and tourist sector were invited to see the port, its cruise terminal, and to take a tour of the MS Voyager, which is one of the cruise ships which regularly calls at the port.
They were also given a good idea of what cruise passengers are looking for, and how best to attract their custom.
Martin Putman, port manager, said, ‘We’ve invested heavily in new passenger facilities at Portsmouth International Port, and that decision has helped us see a dramatic rise in the number of cruise ships using the port this year.
‘With so much to do in and around Portsmouth we are sure passengers will take the opportunity to explore the city, enjoy attractions and spend their hard-earned holiday money here.
‘We are very excited about the new Mary Rose exhibition opening in May, and we’re sure it will be high on the list of things to do for people coming to the city.
‘However, it’s not just the well-known attractions that can benefit from a growth in the cruise ship market.
‘Restaurants, taxis, shops and hotels are just some of the businesses that could do well from a growing number of ships and their passengers.’
Councillor Mike Hancock, whose portfolio for Portsmouth City Council covers the port, said: ‘The growth of the cruise industry here can only be good news, and we would like to see as many people as possible benefitting from an increase in passengers.’