SOUTHAMPTON is to host is first cruise business seminar this week in a bid to make the city more of a destination than an embarkation point for the million-plus passengers who use the port each year.

The Leisure Excursions for Cruise & Conference group, led by Southampton City Council, will be hosting its the event at the Southampton Harbour Hotel on Thursday.

The seminar aims to improve the range of excursions offered in the area which will in turn will attract further cruise business for Southampton.

The day-long business seminar will enable businesses that are interested in working with the cruise industry to learn more about best practise when it comes to packaging their product, as well as looking at exploring how to work in collaboration with other business partners to build an experience.

It will also help attendees to learn more about the best ways reach key decision makers and what is required to create a marketable product.

Councillor Satvir Kaur, cabinet member for Homes and Culture at the city council said: “Being a busy cruise port we have millions of cruise passengers coming to Southampton every year, and we are keen to establish ourselves as a destination city for them to explore the amazing attractions in Southampton and the surrounding area.

“Southampton has so much to offer, and it is great to host this event and help create memorable visitor experiences with our partners, creating packages that can be used by Cruise Lines and Cruise Excursion companies across the globe.

“We hope to encourage more visitors to our great city, as well as tempting returning visitors to come again and stay longer, helping to grow the local tourism economy.”

The Leisure Excursions for Cruise & Conference was set up with government funding to maximise the economic impact of the rising number of international cruise passengers who already dock at Southampton and Plymouth.

The partnership will target visitors from Germany, the Netherlands, Scandinavia and the US.

The US market is Hampshire’s most valuable overseas visitor market, worth nearly £40m per year.

Around 70,000 US visitors spend 450,000 nights in the county annually. They spend £520 on average per visit.

Places for tomorrow's event are still available. For more details call Destination Southampton Conference Bureau Limited 0345 226 9944.