asked Her Majesty's Government:
What action the South West Regional Development Agency is taking to maximise cruise ship tourism in connection with the 2012 Olympic events at Weymouth, in particular to encourage such ships to visit other south-west ports.[HL4784]
South West RDA and South West Tourism will maintain their relationship with Destination South West. Destination South West (DSW) is a partnership bringing together organisations from across the region to increase and sustain the number of cruise ships that call at the south-west ports. The partnership is funded by contributions from partners and the European Union Regional Development Fund. The partners include ports, tourist attractions, local government and other public and private sector organisations.
Destination South West is proposing that it works with the international cruise lines and other marine related organisations to deliver themed itineraries that would encourage cruise ships to be based in the south-west ports throughout the Olympics; with the addition of day and overnight visits to London for Olympic events. It also wishes to investigate opportunities for providing floating accommodation at the events and to serve the main London programmes.
Weymouth and Portland are the centre of significant regeneration and development activity; some £370 million of public and private sector investment is in the pipeline, including the development of the Pavilion site (£120 million, mainly private), Osprey Quay (£150 million public/private split), the relief road from Dorchester to Weymouth (£84 million) and improvements to the railway station (part of the Olympic transport package which costs £18 million).
The South West RDA is supporting a DCMS Sea Change bid which will complement and add value to other investment and will focus on creating public places that can be the setting for events and activities, the creation of cultural and historic routes through the town and the development of a creative industries centre through refurbishment of a building. This is a £3 million bid to the Sea Change programme. Other funding is from local partners and other bids. This includes funding for new public art as part of the regeneration programme.
The South West Regional Development Agency (RDA) has developed the South West England Strategy for the 2012 Games, which focuses on five key legacy areas: business development, sporting opportunity, tourism and regional image, community engagement and cultural celebration; with a framework fund of £2.9 million over three years.
South West RDA is investing over £2 million per year for three years to implement its tourism strategy, “Towards 2015.” They will invest to improve quality and skills and to support new developments in tourism. Each destination (DMO) receives £50,000 per year for the development of local partnerships and initiatives. South West RDA also invests in public realm projects designed to have a positive impact on visitors to the region in the lead up to and after the Olympics.
South West RDA is also an active partner and contributor to the Welcome to Britain project and Partners for England.