PORTSMOUTH’S history, shopping and its closeness to rural Britain has led to it becoming the focal point of a new tourism campaign.
VisitBritain has teamed up with Brittany Ferries to launch a joint marketing campaign to attract more French tourists to the UK.
The agreement will see both Brittany Ferries, which bases its UK operations at Portsmouth International Port, and VisitBritain, each spend £1.5m over three years to show off what the country has to offer.
Last year, 14 per cent of Britain’s foreign visitors arrived in the country after using a ferry, and this figure is set to rise.
Launching the partnership at Portsmouth International Port yesterday, Sandie Dawe, chief executive of VisitBritain, said: ‘France has our most important market in terms of numbers of visitors.
‘This is an opportunity to encourage more French people to come at all times of the year.
‘This isn’t just about it being a city centre holiday – our strategy is not just to grow numbers of visits but to get people exploring.’
Also launching the partnership in Portsmouth was Christophe Mathieu, deputy managing director of Brittany Ferries and usually based at the company’s head quarters in Roscoff, in Brittany, said the company’s key aim was to encourage more French people to visit and discover rural Britain.
He said: ‘Hampshire, Dorset, Devon, Cornwall – these areas are not marketed enough in France, and the French market doesn’t know what it’s missing.
‘There is an area of growth here we need to explore.’
Portsmouth City Council leader Gerald Vernon Jackson, and Mike Hancock, who is cabinet member responsible for tourism, were also at the launch.
Cllr Hancock said: ‘I am delighted that we are getting the support from this campaign.
‘It’s not just about London.’
Cllr Vernon Jackson added: ‘More visitors will equal more jobs for Portsmouth.’