Let’s show Southampton that we can compete for more cruise liners | The News
We have to confess to feelings of jealousy over the years at the amount of towering cruise liners that go in and out of Southampton.
Yes, some do dock at Portsmouth International Port. But we've always been limited in what liners we can accommodate because of berth size restrictions and the standard of our passenger facilities.
So while we're known very much as a fe rryport and the gateway to France for holidaymakers, Southampton has become the UK's cruise liner capital.
That’s why it' s great to report today that Portsmouth City Council is set to spend £18.7m on improvements to the port and on-board promotion of what's her e for tourists to see and do that could turn the city into a leading destination for cruise liners.
Levelling work on the port's cruise berth will allow bigger cruise liners to dock. Improvements to the terminal building will also mean passengers can be dealt with more efficiently. Meanwhile harbour dredging work carried out for the new aircraft carriers will also help.
Historically, the city has been seen as a place to drive through to board ferries and ships bound for the Continent.
But now much more focus is going to be on getting passengers to stop and soak up our rich maritime and literary history and sample our attractions.
That will boost the tourism industry that is so important to the city's prosperity and also increase revenue from berthing fees. As the port is owned by the city council, maximising its capacity and profits can only be a good thing.
By 2022, we could have more than 100 cruise liners calling in, compared to 48 last year.
As each visiting passenger spends an average of £160 in their port o f embarkation a nd £70 in a port of call, the economic benefit could be huge.