Over 50,000 visitors attended the last Tall Ships Festival in 2009
Organisers of Gloucester's Tall Ships festival said it "must be commercially viable" if it is to succeed this year.
Local and regional businesses are being urged to support the 2011 event and help fill the Docks with visitors.
Marketing Gloucester chair, Councillor Paul James, said the festival "gives a welcome boost to the local economy".
A range of sponsorship options offering "worthwhile financial investment" are being created to encourage support from businesses of all sizes.
'Thousands of visitors'
"The first two Tall Ships Festivals were a roaring success," said Cllr Paul James.
"The event is not just a time for locals to enjoy the city's past but it also attracts thousands of visitors from outside of the city."
The proposed festival, on 5-7 August, has been received well by the tall ships community with three ships - The Zebu, The Matthew and The Irene - indicating they want to be involved.
Chris Oldershaw, chief executive at the Gloucester Heritage Urban Regeneration Company, said that over 20,000 people were attracted to the festival in 2007 and over 50,000 to the festival in 2009.
"With the £2.7 million regeneration of the public spaces across the Docks now complete this year there will be even more space to enjoy the festival," he said.
The event is being organised by Gloucester City Council, Marketing Gloucester and Gloucester Heritage Urban Regeneration Company with support from a number of local and regional businesses.