PORTSMOUTH’s tourism industry is booming, with visitors and spending in the city soaring, according to new figures.
Estimates by Tourism South East have revealed 9.25m people made a trip to the city last year – up seven per cent on the previous year.
Those visitors spent £444m – up six per cent on 2012.
In total about 12,400 jobs – 11.8 per cent of all employment in the city – are now related to the tourism industry.
That figure is up 5.8 per cent from the year before.
The rise has been put down to new attractions including the multi-million pound Mary Rose Museum in the Historic Dockyard, which opened last year, as well as the new park-and-ride scheme off the M275.
City councillor Luke Stubbs is in charge of planning, regeneration and economic development.
He said: ‘This is fantastic news. Portsmouth’s regeneration is steaming ahead with our new motorway junction, park-and-ride and plans to improve The Hard and the seafront.
‘We’ll soon have big boosts when the new aircraft carriers and the Ben Ainslie Racing team arrive.
‘On top of these developments we have more brilliant news from the visitor economy.
‘A lot of the increase is due to the amazing new Mary Rose Museum, which opened in 2013.
‘But a lot is also due to the hard work of the council’s team and their partners in the local industry, promoting Portsmouth as a tourist destination at home and overseas.’
A marketing strategy introduced by the council is being credited with helping to increase visits and hits on its tourism website.
In the year to June 2014 the site had 670,000 annual users – up 48 per cent on the year to June 2013. A partnership has been formed by the council and the local tourism industry to share resources.
Projects have included TV adverts in the London area, posters in tube stations, and online advertising.
Campaigns featured the Mary Rose Museum prominently.
Tourism chiefs have also been promoting the city in Europe and China and talking to travel agents and tour operators about how to encourage tourists to visit the city.
Cruises and business travel have been other areas targeted.
Partners in recent campaigns include Hampshire County Council, Visit England, Tourism South East, Brittany Ferries and Southampton Airport.