PORTSMOUTH is in line for a £30m boost in tourism after the relaunch of the city’s stunning Mary Rose Museum.
The boss of the Mary Rose Trust spoke out as the curtain was finally lifted on a £5.4m makeover of the attraction.
After being shut for months, the site has now been transformed giving visitors unobstructed, panoramic views of Henry VIII’s doomed flagship.
Her hull was revealed at a viewing at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard yesterday – held on the 471st anniversary of the sinking of the iconic warship in the Solent in 1545.
Visitors can now walk along a new gangway and see the ship in her full majesty for the first time.
Helen Bonser-Wilton is the chief executive of the Mary Rose Trust and is sure tourists will flock to the city to be given a unique view of Tudor history.
She said: ‘It’s absolutely up there with places like Stonehenge.
‘This is completely unique. Nowhere else in the world has a collection of Tudor artefacts and a ship like this and nowhere else in the world can you see the stories of life from so many different levels of society.’
She added: ‘Last time we opened three years ago we were held directly accountable for an increase of tourism spend in the city of about six or seven per cent, which equated to about £26m in that year alone.
‘We’re aiming to at least generate £26m but I could see us hitting the £30m.’
A global audience of 60m people watched when the Mary Rose was lifted from the Solent in 1982.
Since then, her hull has been kept in protective surroundings, firstly with a fine spray of chilled water followed by a water-soluble wax until April 2013, since when she has been kept in a state of controlled air-drying.
The completion of the drying and museum makeover is seen as the culmination of the £39m project to conserve the ship and produce an ‘awe-inspiring’ visitor experience to tell the story of the ship which went down with 500 men on board and only 35 surviving.
The museum’s head of operations Paul Griffiths said it was one of the proudest moments of his career.
‘It’s put the museum on the same level as some of the greatest attractions in the world,’ he said. ‘We’re up there with the Tower of London, Hampton Court and the British Museum.’
‘This puts us and the city of Portsmouth on a global stage.’
The museum was due to open today at 10am.