When news happens get involved. Send your pictures, views and video to us by text and email
Weymouth and Portland to see cash increase thanks to cruise ship tourists
RECORD numbers of cruise ship tourists are set to pour hundreds of thousands of pounds into Weymouth and Portland this summer.
Portland Port is set to have its busiest season yet with a total of 19 cruise ships already confirmed to visit between May and September – up on the nine that visited last year.
The boost has been welcomed by the tourism industry with the Olympics hailed as helping to gain the new business.
The stop-offs will bring around 20,000 passengers from a host of countries, with half of these visitors expected to put an average spend of £50 each into Weymouth and Port-land’s economy.
A spokesman for Portland Port said these record figures would bring about £500,000 for local businesses.
It is expected that the other 50 per cent of cruise passengers will opt to go on excursions including visits along the Jurassic Coast, Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens, Abbotsbury Swannery and Stonehenge.
A spokesman for Portland Port said: “Portland Port’s 2013 cruise season is set to be the biggest to date and will break previous records.”
Incoming president of the Weymouth Chamber of Commerce Mark Blunden said the showcasing of the borough during the Olympic sailing events has helped attract visitors to the area.
He added: “This news is fantastic and it goes to show how hard the team at Portland Port work.
“With beautiful images of the Jurassic Coast broadcast all over the world during the Games, the borough has definitely been put on the map and is set to benefit.”
Craig Dunkerley, general manager of Weymouth Sea Life Park and Tower, said: “It’s great news for the local area. Any additional inbound tourism will only help support the local economy and business after the challenges faced last year.
“The Portland Harbour team has worked hard to build this cruise business so all credit to them.
“We have to ensure we work hard to ensure they don’t all disappear on coaches to further destinations.”
Dave Price, chairman of Weymouth and Portland Hoteliers and Guesthouse Leaseholders’ Association, said: “This is great news – the more people that visit Weymouth the better because the day-trip visitors of this year will be the staying guests of the future.” David Hicks, of Sandworld, added: “I am not surprised to hear that Weymouth and Portland are popular stops for cruise ships this year following the amazing coverage the area received last year during the Olympics.”
There were nine visits by cruise liners last year with about 9,000 passengers. The largest liner to visit was Royal Caribbean’s Jewel of the Seas. It carried 1,980 passengers and weighed 90,000 gross tonnes.
Councillor Ian Bruce, spokesman for tourism and culture at Weymouth and Portland Borough Council, said: “It is great news we can showcase our wonderful borough to thousands of additional visitors from across the world this summer – many for the first time.
“These additional visitors will be a boost for Portland Port and the local economy. We are committed to building on the legacy of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.”
CALLS are being made for more foreign language speakers to make the influx of tourists from abroad feel welcome.
A spokesman for Portland Port said: “This year will see a vast amount of German passengers calling at Portland so initially we are interested in expanding our German language speakers. “However, future calls could see the requirement for many other foreign language speakers including Spanish, Italian and French.”
Expenses will be covered if speakers are able to assist during the cruise season. To volunteer, contact Portland Port on 01305 824044 or email l.taylorphelps@portland- port.co.uk