Boost to Portsmouth economy after increase in cruise ships to city port

The cruise lines Voyager comes into Portsmouth
The cruise lines Voyager comes into Portsmouth

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PORTSMOUTH’S economy has been boosted by an increase in the number of cruise ships and passenger ferries coming into the city’s port.

Latest figures reveal that Portsmouth International Port, which celebrated its 40th anniversary this summer, has seen an increase in calls, bringing hundreds of thousands of pounds into the city.

In the past year, 34 cruise ships have called into the port.

And for 2017, that number is expected to rise to more than 50.

Portsmouth’s council leader, Councillor Donna Jones, said she hoped to see more ships call at Portsmouth, especially as the city’s profile has gained international attention through events such as the America’s Cup.

It comes after she sent a team to Miami, USA last year in a bid to lure bigger international cruise liners to Portsmouth.

Cllr Jones said: ‘Over the past 12 months we have had 34 cruise ships call into the port.

‘For 2017, we already have 47 calls booked in and we expect to clear somewhere between 50 and 60.

‘That translates to a £750,000 boost to the local economy.’

Cllr Jones said that Portsmouth was looking to boost its leisure market, whereas Southampton has more of a focus on freight.

She said: ‘What we need now is a five-star cruise terminal.

‘I am really pleased that we have had a 40-per-cent increase as it was one of my key promises to the city.’

Nigel Wonnacott, head of communications at Brittany Ferries, said it has also seen an increase in business

He said: ‘We’re proud that Portsmouth has served as Brittany Ferries hub for the past 40 years, but as a destination it’s really started to blossom.

‘It’s vibrant, exciting and the America’s Cup has helped elevate its profile, putting it firmly in the international spotlight.

‘If you’re looking for Cool Britannia in the 21st century, forget about London; it’s all happening down here on the south coast.’

Rupert Taylor, Harbour Master at Portsmouth International Port, is responsible for developing the cruise business at the port.

He said: ‘This year we will focus on promoting our wonderful city to an ever-growing number of interested travel agents.

‘We have carved a niche handling discovery and explorer cruise ships, with an excellent range of holidays starting from and visiting Portsmouth.’