THE head of culture in Portsmouth has vowed to hold talks with America’s Cup bosses to ensure they remain committed to the city after this weekend’s sailing spectacle.
Tory councillor Linda Symes said it’s crucial World Series event chairman Sir Keith Mills continues to plough cash into the region’s economy and stage world-class sporting attractions that pull in huge crowds.
It would be silly not to hold these sorts of talks with Sir Keith after the America’s Cup World Series. What we are looking at here is raising the profile of the city as a much-see visitor destination.Tory culture boss Linda Symes
It comes after Sir Keith revealed in an interview with The News that talks had begun over the possibility of creating a permanent stadium-style event base for the America’s Cup.
Sites have been looked at in Southsea, Old Portsmouth and Gosport.
Cllr Symes said: ‘It would be silly not to hold these sorts of talks with Sir Keith after the America’s Cup World Series.
‘What we are looking at here is raising the profile of the city as a must-see visitor destination.
‘When we get really big events, and show that we are staging them well, it opens up many opportunities.
‘I just think we are very lucky with that great piece of waterfront that we’ve got.
‘Any opportunity for growth in tourism and where people can bring money into the area and improve the economy, has got to be great for us.
‘We know how successful the World Series was last year; it was a shame because of the weather and without it the event would have brought in even more spectators.
‘But the day when the racing was on, was brilliant.
‘There were thousands of people down here.
‘And Sir Keith sees the potential for more, because the seafront really showcases the event.’
World Series racing – featuring Portsmouth-based Olympic sailing hero Sir Ben Ainslie – kicks off on Friday.
Teams will battle it out for points on Saturday and Sunday, and Prince William and Kate will attend the cup regatta’s prize-giving ceremony.
As well as the racing, the three-day event will have airshows from the Red Bull Matadors and the Red Arrows as well as a Race Village featuring a technology area which shows how the race boats work. Spectators can watch all of the races from the common for free. For tickets, go to lvacwsportsmouth.com