BOLD ideas for Portsmouth’s future could be taken to America in the hope they can be made a reality.
City council leader Donna Jones wants to lure bigger international cruise liners to Portsmouth which she says would then attract five-star hotels.
This is about taking Portsmouth on to become a 21st century cosmopolitan city in Europe.Councillor Donna Jones, leader of Portsmouth City Council
It’s part of a renewed bid to boost the city’s profile – and Cllr Jones wants to send a team of regeneration experts over to an upcoming cruise liner conference in Miami, Florida, who will promote what the Portsmouth region has to offer.
Cllr Jones plans to draw up a visitor programme which would be sent over and highlight the appeal of a cruise to the Solent and visiting Portsmouth’s attractions.
Portsmouth International Port already has an all-year-round cruising schedule with smaller vessels like Voyager and Saga Pearl II – but does not have the capacity to hold major ships like those from the P&O Cruises fleet that call at Southampton.
Cllr Jones says the council would have to spend more money on the port to accommodate larger firms, but it would be a worthwhile investment.
Speaking to The News, the Tory councillor said: ‘The council is unique in that its owns its own port. We had a £16.1m investment programme at the port in 2012 where we built a new terminal building.
‘I want to maximise on that investment to expand the cruise market.
‘Miami is the world HQ of cruise liners. It’s where most of the big cruise liner companies are based, so I am really keen to be involved.
‘It’s about trying to woo Canadian and US cruise ships to the UK.
‘We also want to attract more visitors and get more out of our port and make sure we are getting the best return we possibly can.
Cllr Jones added: ‘It’s a bigger picture aspiration.
‘This is about taking Portsmouth on to become a 21st century cosmopolitan city in Europe.
‘It’s not just about hotels and cruise liners. We are driving up education and aspiration.
‘It’s about young people who come out of school going into further and higher education and then having high-quality jobs to go into after. We have miles and miles of coastline and we have so much water around us.’