CIVIC chiefs will today outline their bid for Southampton to become the City of Culture in 2025, and appeal to business to get behind the proposal.

At a virtual event due to be held at the Mayflower Theatre this morning, Southampton City Council bosses will meet with business leaders from across the city to discuss how they can support the move.

It is hoped that a successful bid will bring in hundred of millions of pounds in tourism cash to the area.

A statement from the council said: "There is a lot to gain from becoming a UK City of Culture.

"When Hull was UK City of Culture in 2017 it added £300 million to their tourism market and up to £17 million gross value added to their local economy. Southampton’s bid to become UK City of Culture 2025, if successful, will look to deliver similarly substantial economic, social and cultural impacts."

The council added that at the event businesses will learn about the bid process, along with the opportunity to invest in the initiative over six years including a year of legacy.

"Businesses who become partners will be given huge profile in the city and the wider region and will have the opportunity to shape their involvement in line with their business objectives," the statement added.

It also understood that the authority will announce its first commercial partner for the City of Culture bid, although word of who that is has not yet been revealed.

Sandy Hopkins, Chief Executive of Southampton City Council said: “Winning the bid will put the city of Southampton, and the surrounding Hampshire and Isle of Wight area, on the map, literally and figuratively, bringing with it so many benefits for the people who live and work here.

"It will provide lasting economic impacts and give us a global competitive advantage, attracting new investment. It will highlight the role of our universities in place-shaping, skills and job creation. It will establish new businesses and create quality jobs. It will make Southampton a destination city giving the visitor economy an uplift through investment in all aspects of the city’s infrastructure and experiences.

"We are passionate about ensuring that it will build civic pride, community connections, and help residents to start well, live well, and age well. Our local businesses will also gain much from the success of this bid and it provides excellent opportunities that we simply cannot miss, so please join us on this endeavour.”

As reported, Claire Whitaker, director of international live music and cultural events organisation Serious, was appointed to take forward Southampton’s bid at the end of last year.

When she took the role she said: "This is Southampton’s opportunity, through consultation and collaboration, to create a compelling case for the city.

"By building on Southampton’s considerable strengths and bringing people of all ages and backgrounds together, we can develop something very special, with lasting cultural, social and economic benefit to the city and the wider region.”