The boss of Portland Port has issued a thinly-veiled rebuke to protestors, saying their action may have lost local businesses £400,000.
Chief executive Bill Reeves says the cancellation of a cruise ship visit to Portland – Princess Cruise lines’ Regal Princess with more than 3,600 passengers – has cost the local economy around £400,000
The port calculated the figure using industry statistics based on spend per head by passengers as well as spend by crew and additional revenues for local transport operators and other suppliers.
The port says it is ‘in the process of gathering information to establish the full facts behind the cancellation’. But it’s clear the firm squarely blames people who gathered to express their concerns over the arrival of the Bibby Stockholm barge, set to accommodate 500 migrants awaiting a final decision on their residency in the UK.
Mr Reeves said: “Cruise calls to Portland Port contribute £10m to the local economy every year.
“The visit by the Regal Princess alone would have generated approximately £400,000 for local businesses.
“This includes spending in shops, restaurants, cafes, pubs, tourist attractions, for guides and taxis as well as for those in the supply chain such as bus and coach operators and through indirect spend.
“The port has also lost berthing fees but this is significantly outweighed by the overall cost to the local economy.
“Cruise calls not only create and support local jobs and the economy, they generate significant exposure for the area and help to encourage return visits.
“A great deal of time and effort has been taken to build up our cruise business to diversify revenues at the port and support the local economy, of which we are proud to be a part. The importance of this cruise business cannot be underestimated.
“All other cruise calls are continuing as planned over the remainder of the season. Indeed, we were able to accommodate the Norwegian Dawn on Monday after she requested to arrive early due to bad weather elsewhere.
“She had 2,360 guests on board, around half of which went into Weymouth on Monday evening, spending money in restaurants, cafes, bars and take-aways, and by all accounts having a great time.”