Portsmouth port: Record passenger numbers use new cruise terminal with tourism growth “exponential”

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Tens of thousands of passengers have been using the new cruise terminal at the port - significantly boosting the Portsmouth economy.

The trailblazing £11.25m terminal opened to the public in August 2023 and allows the port to take on more holidaymakers going on cruises to lavish destinations. A total of 75,000 people visited the terminal in the first six months. Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson, Portsmouth City Council cabinet member for transport and responsible the the port said "Over the past six months we have seen a record number of passengers use our new terminal extension. As a port we have pitched ourselves towards small to mid-sized boutique, expedition, luxury cruises and this approach is proving to reap rewards.

Passengers visiting the new cruise terminal extension at Portsmouth International Port.Passengers visiting the new cruise terminal extension at Portsmouth International Port.
Passengers visiting the new cruise terminal extension at Portsmouth International Port. | Contributed

"We are on track for our busiest year, with 88 calls, which helps to support the port's overall growth and is essential for the city. It is estimated that each cruise call can generate £1.5m for the city's economy through passenger and crew spend, combined with port charges. With the port contributing £8m profit to the council's budget this year, we're optimistic our popularity as a cruise port will continue as forecasts show future growth. "

The first passenger was handed a bottle of sparkling by the mayor and mayoress of Portsmouth, Tom Coles and Nikki Coles.The first passenger was handed a bottle of sparkling by the mayor and mayoress of Portsmouth, Tom Coles and Nikki Coles.
The first passenger was handed a bottle of sparkling by the mayor and mayoress of Portsmouth, Tom Coles and Nikki Coles. | Contributed
Employees at Saga welcoming passengers at the new terminal. Saga is one of the port's main customers for cruise trips.Employees at Saga welcoming passengers at the new terminal. Saga is one of the port's main customers for cruise trips.
Employees at Saga welcoming passengers at the new terminal. Saga is one of the port's main customers for cruise trips. | Contributed

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Government financing as part of the Levelling-Up fund allowed for the carbon-neutral facility to be constructed. It boasts seawater technology to heat and cool the building, smart LED solar panels to generate energy and living walls to purify the air. It was constructed with the boutique cruise market in mind, with the port looking to boost the number of small to medium sized vessels which call into Portsmouth. Officials are set to welcome back Virgin Voyages for nine turnaround visits, and the first ever visit of French brand CFC's Renaissance in May.

Mike Sellers, port director - who has been in the role for seven years - said: "Investment in the port has resulted in exponential growth in the cruise trade and the recent figures show that it has been money well spent. Our berth extension and new terminal facilities have secured commitments from well-known brands and meant Portsmouth is establishing itself as an important UK cruise port, sustaining the national appetite for cruise travel.

"We now turn to shore power as our current focus so we can be in a position next year to provide energy for multiple ships on multiple berths, which we believe will be UK first. We look forward to sharing our experience with the wider industry and demonstrate how ports are a leading sector in sustainability."

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