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Duty free plan for borough's port welcomed
WEYMOUTH could become a duty-free port in an effort to attract more visitors.
Weymouth and Portland Borough Councillor Ian Bruce, who is the spokesman for tourism and leisure, said he would like to see businesses come forward to offer a duty-free service to vessels.
Council officers are investigating options as to how and if this could be done.
Coun Bruce said he saw the idea in practice on a trip to Alderney.
He said: “There’s a little shop on the harbourside, and you fill out a form and they bring it over to your yacht, or whatever type of vessel you have.
“It’s amazing how many people it attracts.”
While the idea is only in the inquiry stage at the moment, Coun Bruce said he hopes businesses would be interested in offering such a service.
He said: “It’s certainly not the kind of thing I think the council should run.
“I’m quite keen for a company to hear my idea and run with it. I think it would have to be a service where the items were taken out to the vessel.”
He added: “Within the EU you can’t get duty-free allowances but you can if you go to the Channel Islands.
“That’s one of the reasons Condor does so well. It struck me that if we offered a service like this at Weymouth, perhaps even Portland, then it would encourage people to come here because it would give them more of a reason to do so.
“People could bring their boats into Weymouth from the Solent, for example, and take advantage of the facility before heading across to the Channel Islands. Maybe they would even come on the way back.
“It’s the shortest crossing from here and you can make it in the light. The more we get people in the better, as it is earning us money.”
Mark Blunden, president of the Weymouth and Portland Chamber of Commerce, said: “Anything that helps bring business into the area is good news. It’s certain to create a few more jobs, too, which is always welcome so I hope that Councillor Bruce can make this happen.”
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