WEYMOUTH and Portland is on an ‘upward trend’, and there’s cause to be optimistic for the future according to tourism experts.

The 2015 figures compiled by the South West Research Company have been published, and they show that visitor spend and the number of people staying in the borough has increased.

Last year Weymouth and Portland welcomed 498,000 tourists who stayed for one night or more, and spent a total of £127.5m. 

More than two million people visited just for the day, spending £85m.

The report reveals that the proportion of employment directly or indirectly related to tourism is 19 per cent – slightly higher than it 2014 when it stood at 17 per cent.

The total visitor-related spend in the borough was £218,724,000.

In West Dorset, spending by tourists stands much higher at £321m – but this has actually decreased since 2014 when the visitor spend was £328m. 

Almost five million people – 4,916,000 – visited the district for a day trip, while 611,800 stayed for a night or more. 

The proportion of tourism-related employment was 14 per cent.

Nigel Reed, manager of Weymouth BID, said: “The feedback we have had is that there is a general upward trend in people visiting coastal resorts in the UK. 

“That’s down to a number of reasons – the volatility of some countries abroad and also that we like to remember our childhood holidays. 

“You always feel when you visit the seaside that you are doing something healthy.”

He added that the area has also benefitted from the growing trade in long weekends away. 

“Weymouth has an abundance of events and festivals and we know from the feedback we get that places get booked up for the Seafood Festival months in advance," he said.

With the data reflecting visitors and spend in 2015, the figures do not reveal what – if any – effect the uncertainty surrounding Brexit has had on the tourist economy in Weymouth and Portland.

Mr Reed said he doubted the issue would adversely affect the area.

“I think people, when they are unsure, tend to stay in this country, and the exchange rate will certainly help with that. 

“Coastal resorts are popular places and there’s no reason to think that will change.”