Weymouth's once in a lifetime opportunity.
Authors: Sadd, D.
Editors: Ali-Knight, J., Robertson, M., Fyall, A. and Ladkin, A.
Place of Publication: London
On the 6 July 2005 much changed for the towns of Weymouth and Portland, Dorset as they heard that in seven years time they would be hosting the sailing for the successful London 2012 Olympic Bid. Two years later on, and whilst the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy (WPNSA) has swung into action with its preparations, the town of Weymouth itself in some respects appears to be unsure of it’s future direction. At the time of the bid the road issue was still uppermost in the minds of the residents; however that issue has potentially been resolved with the Government announcing the decision to build the relief road in time for the 2012 Games which will alter significantly the arrival of visitors into the town from Dorchester, until now a potential traffic nightmare for both visitors and residents alike with long delays and traffic bottlenecks. Yet, within the town itself, little has changed. Many plans are being suggested about developments including the new Pavilion Peninsula and also the redevelopment of the waterfront esplanade, but it would appear that the town is slightly indecisive as to where it wants to position itself with regard to attracting visitors and income to the town.
Weymouth needs to decide on its strategy for the future, by adopting a concerted approach to attract certain segments of the market and invest sensibly in these areas, rather than trying to spread itself too thinly across all market sectors. The role of a good events portfolio could be a major contributor to a successful marketing strategy. From research undertaken in 2004 ( Sadd, 2004 ), it is evident that the locals are keen for the ‘ season ’ to be all year around and they recognise the importance of events in the town and how, historically, they have been a great source of celebration, ranging from the military parades to the hosting of the tall ships for an unprecedented three times. This chapter will explain the historical underpinning of Weymouth’s present situation and will make suggestions for possible events based strategies to maximise the potential benefits to be gained from being Olympic Hosts in 2012.