There was a time when Portsmouth was all about the Royal Navy and the dockyard.
Yes, we had the resort of Southsea and the seafront, where people had been coming on holiday since Victorian times.
But the city as a whole was not really regarded as a destination for short breaks and vacations and tourism was not making a significant contribution to the local economy.
Fast forward to today and how the picture has changed. The navy and the dockyard are still important, but the tourism industry is now both a major employer and generator of revenue.
New figures from Tourism South East have revealed that 9.25m people made a trip to the city last year – up seven per cent on 2012. These visitors spent £444m – up six per cent on 2012.
Meanwhile TSE has calculated that about 12,400 jobs – 11.8 per cent of all city employment – are tourism-related.
That’s great news for a city that has worked hard to present a modern image, promoting itself in the UK and around the world as a tourist destination.
The end result is more people coming to find out for themselves what Portsmouth is all about.
Of course we have some jewels in our crown that others must look at with envious eyes.
The world-class Mary Rose Museum, Victory and Warrior and the National Museum of the Royal Navy in the Historic Dockyard are a big draw, as is Gunwharf Quays and the iconic Spinnaker Tower. Now we have a park-and-ride scheme, people can get here with less hassle.
As regeneration continues, with The Hard and the seafront in line for a makeover, plus mighty new aircraft carriers set to call Portsmouth home and the Ben Ainslie Racing America’s Cup base springing up in Old Portsmouth, these are exciting times for our city.
But we must not be complacent. There is so much competition for the leisure pound these days, so let’s keep shouting about all that we have to offer here and keep those visitors pouring in to see and to spend.