Weymouth traders cite Ben Ainslie's success for attracting more visitors

Bournemouth Echo: OPTIMISTIC: Weymouth shopkeeper Lian Berry OPTIMISTIC: Weymouth shopkeeper Lian Berry

BUSINESS is starting to pick up following a busy weekend in Weymouth, and traders are thanking four-time gold medal winner Ben Ainslie with helping to attract more visitors.

Around 100,000 visitors flocked to the area to watch the sailing over the weekend, but businesses away from the Esplanade and the Nothe site, where sailing fans watched the events, said the influx failed to benefit them.

A concerted campaign has been launched to get more people to visit Weymouth and Portland after a slow start when park and ride sits lay empty and traders complained it was quieter than an average summer’s day.

Social networks have been used to get the message out that Weymouth and Portland is the place to be to capture the true Olympic spirit.

And Ainslie’s triumph which was beamed around the world can only have helped the cause.

It is hoped that the borough can build on that momentum with medal races every day this week.

Peter Richmond, owner of Cafe Blue on the seafront, said: “It has been our busiest day outside of the carnival.

“It’s been a really good day, constant and very tiring – but it’s been excellent. The customers seem very positive.”

Lian Berry, owner of Weymouth Deli, said: “It has been teeming in some areas, but in many respects it is like a normal summer.

“We have been busier over the weekend compared to last week, but not any busier than we would expect to be a this time of year.”

And there are fears that business will not fully pick up until after the Olympics are over.

Mr Berry added: “Maybe the people who have stayed away because they were told it was going to be busy will come down in the next few weeks.”

Fiona Penny, who owns a flower shop on St Thomas Street, said: “The footfall in town has picked up recently, and I’ve had a lot of last-minute work for the Olympics.

“I think the fact that such a lot of people came to Weymouth to see Ben Ainslie compete has helped, and at least they have dropped the prices on the park and ride, but really it is just too little, too late.”

As many as 70,000 people visited Weymouth and Portland on Sunday alone, to watch as Great Britain’s sailing team scooped three Olympic medals.

Weymouth seafront businesses reported a boom in trade, with one tradesman describing it as ‘the best day for ice cream sales for four years’.

Alan Freemantle, owner of Jue’s, said: “It’s been fantastic. The spirit of the Ben Ainslie race has been great – we nearly ran out of ice cream.”

Weymouth and Portland Borough Council spokesman for tourism and culture Coun Ian Bruce said: “We were thrilled to see such high numbers of visitors coming to the borough this weekend, which is fantastic news for tourism and fantastic news for business.”

Comments (3)

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10:49am Tue 7 Aug 12

izzyarch says...

The world is in the depths of recession, the UK economy is clinging on for dear-life, UK tourism numbers have been in dramatic decline since 2008. With 100k visitors in town on Sunday, Weymouth's traders should be thankful to be given a golden opportunity. Once the Olympics leaves town, they will be in the same leaky boat as the rest of the country. Enjoy this moment, visitors to the town are spending a lot of money; if each of Sunday's visitors spent a measly fiver each, that's half a million quid in Weymouth's pocket. Don't moan because you're not getting it. That's just jealousy. Weymouth is a credit to the world at the moment. Well done to those who are making that happen.
The world is in the depths of recession, the UK economy is clinging on for dear-life, UK tourism numbers have been in dramatic decline since 2008. With 100k visitors in town on Sunday, Weymouth's traders should be thankful to be given a golden opportunity. Once the Olympics leaves town, they will be in the same leaky boat as the rest of the country. Enjoy this moment, visitors to the town are spending a lot of money; if each of Sunday's visitors spent a measly fiver each, that's half a million quid in Weymouth's pocket. Don't moan because you're not getting it. That's just jealousy. Weymouth is a credit to the world at the moment. Well done to those who are making that happen. izzyarch
  • Score: 0

3:46pm Tue 7 Aug 12

ETV says...

izzyarch - lol - what a load of cobblers...
.
Most traders have made huge losses during the run up over the past 2 years that will not be replaced by a few days of (usual for the time of year) visitor numbers.
.
I know many local businesses that are not picking up any extra trade from the day trippers coming to see the olympics. They arrive in town, walk past the businesses to go watch teh sailing, and at the end of the day they walk past the businesses without stopping on their way home.
.
Olympic visitors aren't here to spend money they are here to watch the sailing.
izzyarch - lol - what a load of cobblers... . Most traders have made huge losses during the run up over the past 2 years that will not be replaced by a few days of (usual for the time of year) visitor numbers. . I know many local businesses that are not picking up any extra trade from the day trippers coming to see the olympics. They arrive in town, walk past the businesses to go watch teh sailing, and at the end of the day they walk past the businesses without stopping on their way home. . Olympic visitors aren't here to spend money they are here to watch the sailing. ETV
  • Score: 0

8:16pm Tue 7 Aug 12

ROOSY1979 says...

ETV wrote:
izzyarch - lol - what a load of cobblers...
.
Most traders have made huge losses during the run up over the past 2 years that will not be replaced by a few days of (usual for the time of year) visitor numbers.
.
I know many local businesses that are not picking up any extra trade from the day trippers coming to see the olympics. They arrive in town, walk past the businesses to go watch teh sailing, and at the end of the day they walk past the businesses without stopping on their way home.
.
Olympic visitors aren't here to spend money they are here to watch the sailing.
Well, having come down on Saturday night to get pole position on Sunday to watch Ben Ainslie I came away from Weymouth incredibly disappointed with the whole experience. Whoever runs Weymouth council should be taken out to sea and keel hauled, I have never seen such a shambolic organisation of traffic control (being forced to park in a multi story car park at £57 per day finished the weekend off a treat). In fairness the traders we spoke to were pulling their hair out and were feeling pretty shafted. Our hotel was cleary run by a couple of profiteers though,
[quote][p][bold]ETV[/bold] wrote: izzyarch - lol - what a load of cobblers... . Most traders have made huge losses during the run up over the past 2 years that will not be replaced by a few days of (usual for the time of year) visitor numbers. . I know many local businesses that are not picking up any extra trade from the day trippers coming to see the olympics. They arrive in town, walk past the businesses to go watch teh sailing, and at the end of the day they walk past the businesses without stopping on their way home. . Olympic visitors aren't here to spend money they are here to watch the sailing.[/p][/quote]Well, having come down on Saturday night to get pole position on Sunday to watch Ben Ainslie I came away from Weymouth incredibly disappointed with the whole experience. Whoever runs Weymouth council should be taken out to sea and keel hauled, I have never seen such a shambolic organisation of traffic control (being forced to park in a multi story car park at £57 per day finished the weekend off a treat). In fairness the traders we spoke to were pulling their hair out and were feeling pretty shafted. Our hotel was cleary run by a couple of profiteers though, ROOSY1979
  • Score: 0

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