Putting the wind back in the sails of tourism

Portsmouth City Council is launching a major push to make sure the city's tourism industry bounces back after the pandemic.

Part of the drive is an advertising campaign to hit social media users and the key London market.

The 'Portsmouth: Put the wind in your sails' campaign aims to encourage people to plan a summer trip now, so that when restrictions are lifted they can enjoy the city's attractions, seafront, shopping and events.

Starting on 22 March and running through Easter, the campaign will use giant digital advertising boards on the M3 coming in and out of London, and at a key site near Richmond Park on the edge of the capital. Social media ads with the same message will also land in people's news feeds.

Local businesses will be able to join in the campaign by using its images and messages.

Potential visitors will be urged to go to the new-look visitportsmouth.co.uk site, which lists events and attractions.

Other efforts by the council include:

  • making plans to invite press and industry representatives to the city to show them around and meet local businesses, as soon as it is safe
  • promoting the city to international tour operators, travel agents and the cruise industry
  • scheduling a marketing campaign in Normandy for later in the year
  • encouraging local businesses to continue to meet the national 'We're good to go' standard for covid-safe tourism
  • re-launching its Portsmouth Champions training scheme. This is designed to equip workers in the tourism industry with the information and skills they need to provide a great welcome to visitors and play their part in selling the city.

Cllr Steve Pitt, the council's Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Economic Development and its Deputy Leader, said: "Before the pandemic Portsmouth welcomed around nine million visitors a year. The visitor economy supported more than 12,000 jobs and brought in about £610m a year for local businesses.

"We need to make sure that business returns and grows, because tourism has a crucial role to play in both the economic and the social wellbeing recovery of the city. The many businesses that make Portsmouth a great place to visit are also what make it a great place to live.

"We will work closely with partners across the city to ensure that we re-open in a safe and covid-secure way, when the government roadmap allows, as we successfully did last summer, to keep visitors and local residents as safe as possible.

"I would remind everyone that in the meantime, we all need to keep going, sticking to the rules and helping to keep infection rates in the city low."

Businesses interested in getting involved in the campaign can email tourism@portsmouthcc.gov.uk

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