THE chair of the City of Culture competition has said tourism could receive a boost in Southampton if it is selected.

Sir Phil Redmond CBE visited the city on Friday along with the judges for the competition on the last part of their tour of all the final four areas.

Having previously been shown around Wrexham, Bradford and Durham, the group took a tour of Southampton, taking in a range of areas and meeting hundreds of people.

But following the visit, Sir Phil told the Echo that if successful, Southampton could receive a boost to its economy and tourism as a result.

When asked if the competition would mean economical bonuses for the city he responded with “yes I think so”.

READ MORE: City of Culture: Five places that prove Southampton should be crowned

“Hull got £100m. This is quite a big prize to go for. One of the big things is tourism.

“People stay an extra night which means a meal. Both Hull and Coventry were the sort of places where people look through them and not at them.”

He added that this is similar to Southampton due to it being a port city and that the title of City of Culture leaves a lasting sense of “pride” among its people.

A decision is due on what area will become UK City of Culture 2025 at the end of this month.

Sir Phil continued that the visit to Southampton was “exciting” and that the group travelling in on a boat before looking at the Northern tip of the city.

READ MORE: Southampton City of Culture: Successful bid will 'lift people up'

Regarding the judges, he said: “They want to see you remind people of what the city is. It’s more than just a port. They want to use that to supercharge the cultural offering.

“The competition is about trying to get people to come together. It’s very ambitious, but realistic.

“Its about getting people to realise that these are places you can go to.

“The purpose of these visits are to get under the words on the paper.”

He added that this is not the first time he has been to Southampton, having previously been to St Mary's stadium.

Wishing Southampton well in the competition, he even told the Echo he would have liked to stay to see Liverpool face Saints next week.

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