The Chamber breakfast meeting at Weymouth Pavilion had a great turnout of members and guests to hear from Tracy Hayden from our sponsors Dorset Echo/LocalIQ and Ian Mcquade from Portland Port.

President Craig Oakes in the first meeting of his second year in office began by welcoming everyone and presenting a cheque to Weldmar Hospicecare with Fiona Hansford receiving on behalf of the Charity who are members of the Chamber. The money raised, nearly £1200, had come from all the sponsors supporting Craig in his fantastic achievement to lose weight and get fit, with help from MJ at Zone fitness. Craig took on various challenges last year which involved fire walking, the Frosty 5k Run, a 10k run and the Lions Christmas Day Harbour swim, plus other stupendous events. A truly great effort.

Craig also reminded members and guests of some points mentioned in his speech at the WPCC AGM last week and highlighted the forthcoming launch of the Chamber Club Card, to benefit members with discounts and more. The most recent new member certificates were presented to Claudine Tesniere from Utility Warehouse and Sean Cooper from WeyFish Ltd.

The presentations were led by Ian McQuade with some tremendous facts showing the growth of trade in Portland Harbour, beginning with the commercial growth in ships bringing in animal feedstuff and the cement, both doubling their tonnage to nearly 400,000 tons annually. Historically the Royal Fleet Auxillary had their home base in Portland and today, despite the loss of the Navy to other ports, they still regard it as a natural berthing call for supplies, with over 300 days booked into the harbour.

Ian said “Investment has been continuous in the harbour and our dredging programme will allow some of the World’s biggest vessels in. Ships some 32 meters wide and 225 meters long that had too deep a draught will be able to get right in to berth for all supplies.”

Cruise ships make up a huge side of business in Portland Port and Ian told of the rapid growth to receiving over 40 ‘calls’ (visits) in to the harbour from cruise ships such as ” Our biggest visitor, the enormous Norwegian Getaway  at 326 metres long and carrying nearly 4000 passengers. Plus, of course many of the regular Cruise lines, including Princess, Seabourn, Regent, Seven Seas and Disney all bringing some 74,000 passengers”  All this can be seen on the Portland Port 2020 Cruise programme: https://www.portland-port.co.uk/cruise+calendar

Ian finished by emphasising and dispelling myths! “All cruise passengers do not leave the local area and head for Stonehenge!” “In fact” said Ian “Some 95% of cruise passengers leave their ship and out of those, 80% stay in the immediate local area, visiting Weymouth and Portland, Dorchester and the Purbecks. The potential for trade is enormous” He went on to thank the Weymouth BID for providing Ambassadors to greet passengers, providing an impressive welcome to the highlights of the area.

The presentation’s success can be measured by the audience response and the amount of questions and interest shown.

Tracy Hayden from our meeting sponsors LOCALIQ and the Dorset Echo followed with an excellent simple presentation showing the immense value to the clever targeted approach of online advertising. Her visual approach utilising the (large, uneaten) bag of many coloured sweets, showing the scatter approach of some advertising was so ineffective compared to picking out just those perfect potential customers for your business (just the yellow sweeties!). With half a million unique browsers on the Dorset Echo website advertisers can target specific audiences they want to reach.

Fiona Hansford from Weldmar, Chamber President Craig Oakes and MJ from Zone Fitness

Tracy Hayden from LOCALIQ, Ian McQuade from Portland Port and Chamber President Craig Oakes

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