CLOSER links are being forged between Portsmouth and the county’s only airport as a way to boost the local economy, tourism and trade.
A delegation from Portsmouth City Council, including chief executive David Williams, the strategic director for regeneration Kathy Wadsworth, and Stephen Baily, head of city development and cultural services, joined the airport’s managing director Dave Lees.
Mr Williams said: ‘The council is working hard with employers in Portsmouth on regenerating the city’s economy – boosting visitor numbers and encouraging new investment.
‘Southampton Airport is a major asset to the city and the region. It is very convenient for the city, and plays a key role for business and tourism.
‘We are working even more closely with the airport team, particularly with regard to the major attractions and events in the city and the key business links that exist.’
The airport already has links with some of Portsmouth’s tourist attractions such as the Spinnaker Tower and the historic dockyard.
Visitor numbers to the dockyard are projected to rise to 600,000 next year, due in part to the opening of the new Mary Rose Museum.
But the links between the region and the airport are part of a wider drive by Portsmouth’s business leaders and politicians to encourage new, big businesses to the area under the Shaping the Future of Portsmouth initiative.
Mr Lees said: ‘The airport is extremely keen to build a closer relationship with the city of Portsmouth, including the many businesses which operate in the area.
‘A fifth of Southampton Airport’s passengers already come from Portsmouth, and so the airport is well placed to serve the city and region into the future.
‘Research has highlighted that regions and cities with good connectivity including air links are more likely to be successful, and therefore the opportunity to seek future joint opportunities with the city, including inbound tourism to the increasing number of attractions for visitors from across the UK and Europe is hugely exciting.’