Critics who slammed Portsmouth City Council for ‘pouring money into its past’ later came under fire themselves.
Dr Neil Cossons, director of the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, said he was ‘tremendously enthusiastic’ about the city’s unrivalled array of historic ships.
Dr Cossons paid a courtesy call to Lord Mayor Leslie Kitchen, and fired a broadside at people angered by the city’s cash support for projects like Mary Rose and HMS Warrior.
He said that Portsmouth’s ambitious target of attracting a massive 1.1million visitors a year was well within sights.
‘Far from pouring money into its past, the city is really pouring money into the future –and there is no doubt that is a winning investment,’ Dr Cossons said.
‘Popular interest in man and the sea has grown enormously in the last 10-15 years, and will continue to do so. As far as Portsmouth is concerned, the timing couldn’t be better.
‘Attracting 1.1million people a year is a very large number by any standard. But I am convinced they can get it. After all, HMS Victory alone garners around 440, 000 visitors each year.’