The partnership, which includes Associated British Ports, Southampton Cultural Development Trust, Visit Hampshire, Go Southampton, Destination Southampton and Destination Plymouth has worked to develop a range of itineraries for visiting cruise lines that will showcase all the cultural and historical attractions in and around the cities of Southampton and Plymouth.
The project is one of several to receive funding from the UK Government’s £40m Discover England Fund.
Research suggests that over 50% of cruise passengers arriving on a transit call in to Southampton, leave and go on shore excursions outside of the local area.
The Leisure Excursions for Cruise and Conference in Southern England project serves to increase visitor numbers for businesses and attractions local to Southampton and Plymouth by encouraging visitors to stay local for longer. A seminar was held recently in Southampton to assist businesses working with the cruise industry to learn more about best practise.
Laura Campbell, Project Manager, Leisure Excursions for Cruise and Conference said: ‘Research has shown that each cruise call into Southampton generates an estimated £2m for the local economy and approximately £55 is spent per person on a cruise itinerary. By promoting the regional options that are available for tourists close to the ports, businesses and the visitor economy will benefit.’
Andrew Bateman, Tourism Manager, Visit Hampshire said: ‘We believe that we’ve got what the industry is looking for with food and drink attractions such as Bombay Sapphire distillery and Hambledon vineyard, through heritage attractions like The Mary Rose and Beaulieu in the New Forest. We are focusing on putting Hampshire on the map and persuading passengers that they don’t need to head to London for a fantastic day-out.’
The Fund is administered by VisitEngland and involves a programme of activity to ensure that England stays competitive in the rapidly growing global tourism industry. The Fund is a central government funded programme of activity, supported by match funding by partners in the public and private sectors.