The Business of Tourism: Portsmouth

by Ryan Miller

Answers provided by David Schulte, Tourism Manager, Department of Marketing, Communications & Tourism for the City of Portsmouth

What new projects/developments or changes in business practices are coming in the next year and beyond? How will these projects/developments impact visitation?
The Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Museum will reopen this summer following an extensive renovation. We expect this to help bolster our appeal among history lovers.

What new advertising/marketing focuses are you implementing?
The City’s marketing efforts will continue to focus on building attendance at the five City-owned museums and our major festivals and events.

What are your largest challenges and obstacles? Who is your competition?
The City’s marketing budget has remained stagnant during the past decade, which means that our buying power has declined due to inflation. Within the Hampton Roads region, we don’t exactly have any other cities that are day tripper communities. The closest community that actively promote themselves as such would be Smithfield and/or Suffolk.

What does tourism mean to the City of Portsmouth? How does it affect local taxes, and how does it affect our quality of life? How does it help drive our local economy, jobs and the quality of our schools and education system?
The Virginia Tourism Corporation estimates that in 2015 visitors to Portsmouth spent $80.8 million, which supported 796 jobs and generated $3.2 million in City tax revenues. As livability becomes more important to cities, providing an enhanced quality of life for our residents, visitors and citizens is extremely important.

From a tourism standpoint, the combined assets of Coastal Virginia seem hard to rival. Do you feel that the cities of Coastal Virginia sufficiently work together to boost tourism? If not, how do you think that the relationships among cities could improve?
The Coastal Virginia Tourism Alliance was formed in 2008 in order to foster tourism cooperation among the 11 communities in Hampton Roads. The Alliance meets monthly in order to conduct cooperative marketing campaigns and to raise the profile of the tourism industry as an economic engine.

How does Portsmouth work with other regional partners to sell the region to visitors?
Portsmouth is active in the Coastal Virginia Tourism Alliance.  We also partner with the cities of Norfolk, Newport News and Hampton to conduct an annual familiarization tour for AAA travel professionals from throughout North America.

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