Bournemouth winter tourism set to rise

Tourism is on the rise as Bournemouth Council is doing more to bring in trade during the winter months.

One of Britain’s most popular seaside resorts, the coastal town is doing all it can to increase its tourism during quieter periods of the year.

In January this year, Bournemouth Council’s Economy & Tourism Overview & Scrutiny Panel discussed how the council could improve tourism in the area. The report outlined the possibility of outdoor gym facilities, hoping to introduce them at Horseshoe Common if funding becomes available, but the panel did not mention any suggestions to broaden indoor options.

Bournemouth beach attracts an annual average of 1m holidaymakers, with even more travelling down for the day, making it the centre of tourism in Dorset.

With 14% of Dorset employment relating to tourism, the council see tourism as a crucial element to not only increasing business but also employability.

Statistics show that in 2013 tourism flourished throughout July and August, with 36% of people staying on holiday in Bournemouth, 45% of which were day visitors.

55% of day visitors make their decision to visit the area on the same day as their visit. This rises to 80% after the summer holidays, meaning that because the majority of people are travelling down to Bournemouth on the day, they are more likely to be deterred by bad weather.

Bournemouth Tourism Survey 2013
Visitors by age (%) Photo: Bournemouth Tourism Survey 2013

The 2014 report stats show a further rise in tourism:

“34% of Bournemouth staying visitors made the decision to visit within 4 weeks of their visit but this figure was significantly lower than in 2013 (66%). This could be related to the excellent weather in 2013 prompting last minute decisions.”

Despite this positive result, the report also shows an increase in visitors making their decision on the day during October, suggesting an increase in interior alternatives may be needed to prevent visitors being deterred by weather during colder months of the year.

When people make their decision to visit Bournemouth. Photo: Bournemouth Tourism Survey 2014
When people make their decision to visit Bournemouth. Photo: Bournemouth Tourism Survey 2014

Ellie Page, a visitor from Southampton said: “We travel down three or four times a year, but not so much in the winter months because there isn’t a lot going on.”

Paul Banks, a tourist from Vancouver said: “It’s my first time here and there are a lot of attractions to choose from. Although I think there would be more to do if I visited during the summer.”

Although many businesses offer an interior alternative, some outdoor attractions such as Hengistbury Head and Bournemouth Beach struggle to bring in tourists during the winter months. This can be problematic for some businesses on the seafront as they rely on good weather to bring in tourists from around the country.

Despite not being directly affected by the fall in tourists travelling to the beach, theme park Winter Wonderland is forced to limit what it can offer to tourists during the winter. Although the attraction’s slogan is ‘Whatever the weather, guaranteed fun’, the amusement park has to close the majority of the exterior areas in the park because of the weather in the winter months.

The next Economy & Tourism Overview & Scrutiny Panel meeting is in April 2016, where it is hoped even more improvements to Bournemouth’s tourism will be made.




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