5,000 American sailors head for Portsmouth

The American Nimitz class naval aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt sits at anchor in Stokes Bay in 2009. Picture: Chris Ison/PA Wire.

The American Nimitz class naval aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt sits at anchor in Stokes Bay in 2009. Picture: Chris Ison/PA Wire.

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  • USS Theodore Roosevelt to visit city next week
  • City leaders and businesses predict £1m boost to local economy
  • Bars and clubs prepare friendly reception for visitors
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SHE’S called the US Navy’s ‘big stick’ – and it’s hoped USS Theodore Roosevelt will bring a million-pound boost to the city’s economy when she arrives for a five-day visit.

More than 5,000 American sailors are due to arrive in Portsmouth on Sunday as part of the ship’s round-the-world deployment, The News can reveal.

We are a very welcoming city and we are used to lots of people coming to the city, especially through the naval port, so I am sure they will receive a very warm welcome.

Kevin Briscoe

City leaders and business owners are eagerly anticipating the arrival of the 100,000-tonne USS Theodore Roosevelt, which last visited in 2009 and is predicted to bring a welcome economic boost of around £1m.

Bars, clubs, restaurants and visitor attractions are hoping to welcome many of the sailors to their sites over the coming days.

Councillor Donna Jones, the leader of Portsmouth City Council, said: ‘I’m really pleased Portsmouth will be hosting one of the largest aircraft carriers in the world.

‘It will be a great opportunity for us to increase our understanding of how to receive a giant carrier in the run-up to the arrival of the Royal Navy’s two new aircraft carriers which are the largest ever built for us.

‘The fact the carrier is visiting with thousands of sailors on board means a welcome boost to our local economy as they eat here, drink here and visit our attractions.’

The carrier will be accompanied by her destroyer escort Winston S Churchill.

Bars and pubs in the city are putting on themed events and party nights for the US sailors to enjoy some free time ashore.

Tiger Tiger at Gunwharf Quays will open earlier than usual at 9am during the week to put on English breakfasts.

Dan Swan, the general manager, said: ‘There is no doubt the US Navy visit will be a welcome boost to our business, the local hospitality and leisure industry and the city as a 
whole.

‘Last time they visited, we had members of the ship’s company with us throughout their stay for lunches, dinners and to party in the evening.

‘For this visit, we are taking inspiration from “Fleet Week” which runs in cities of our guests’ home country.

‘We are very much looking forward to providing a warm welcome for Portsmouth’s “Fleet Week”.’

Kevin Briscoe, chairman of the Portsmouth Committee for Hampshire Chamber of Commerce, said the visit was great news for the local economy.

‘The influx of 5,000 Americans is obviously going to be great news for Portsmouth if we can keep them in the city and get them to spend money in our bars, restaurants and tourist attractions,’ he said.

‘We are a very welcoming city and we are used to lots of people coming to the city, especially through the naval port, so I am sure they will receive a very warm welcome.’

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