THOUSANDS of people are expected to pass through Portsmouth next year on their way to D-Day commemorations in France.
The influx of visitors is hoped to give the economy a boost, as people travel through the city to reach Normandy.
An official ceremony will take place in Normandy on June 6, but there are also events taking place throughout the year to mark the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings.
A large number of people are expected to cross from Portsmouth on ferries, and many of them could stop off in the city and spend money here.
Steve Tuckwell is the director of port operations for Brittany Ferries in Portsmouth.
He told The News: ‘Portsmouth is a top gateway to the D-Day beaches and it’s going to bring an increase in the number of passengers we will be taking across in June next year.
‘It will definitely boost business in Portsmouth for June.
‘We’re also involved in co-ordinating events in Portsmouth to make the most of what’s happening.
‘It’s fair to say a lot of the people travelling will be older people who will probably want to stay overnight in the city before continuing with their journey over, so hopefully that will boost bed nights in Portsmouth as well.’
Plans are also being made for Portsmouth to hold its own D-Day 70th anniversary commemoration next year.
Portsmouth City Council has already secured some funding for events.
US President Barack Obama and the Queen have been invited to visit the city on June 5.
Maggie McNulty, from the Normandy Tourist Board, said: ‘We’d like people from Portsmouth to come across to the Normandy beaches to see what we have to offer there.
‘There are so many things taking place next year.
‘It will probably be one of the last opportunities for so many generations to come together and bridge the generation gap for the D-Day commemorations next year.
‘Portsmouth will of course see lots of people coming through next year but it would be great if people from the city came across too.’