Author Archives: Simon Scarborough Associates


In tourism terms, 2013 turns out to have been a bumper year, with record numbers of foreign nationals coming to the UK and spending record amounts of money, and British residents’ enthusiasm for travel back to pre-recession levels.

The figures, taken from the annual International Passenger Survey and published by the government’s Office for National Statistics, make extraordinary reading.

Britons made 58.5 million trips abroad last year, and spent nearly £35 billion, roughly on a par with the peaks reached before the economic meltdown. Overseas residents made 32.8 million trips to the UK, and spent £21 billion – both figures are the highest since records began 43 years ago.

UK residents spend an average of £57 a day while abroad, while international visitors to our shores cough up a healthy average of £85 a day. Visitors from the US spend the most – £105 a day on average – and contribute an estimated £2.5 billion to the UK economy.

So far, so very good indeed but, from a local and regional perspective, there may be less cause for celebration.

British travellers heading overseas, whether on holiday, on business, or to visit friends or family, clearly aren’t spending their money here. And it appears that inbound visitors, while they are spending plenty, aren’t doing so in our neck of the woods.

For foreigners, London is understandably the big attraction. Last year, overseas visitors spent a massive £11.3 billion in the capital, more than half the national total. Outside London, cities like Edinburgh and Glasgow, Bristol and Bath, and Cambridge and Canterbury, are all firm favourites.

However, of the top 20 “most-visited” destinations in the UK, only two – Southampton and the Brighton and Hove conurbation – are on the south coast. Inland, Reading is on the list. Inverness is on the list. Bournemouth, Poole, Dorchester – they don’t get a look-in.

A colleague, chatting recently to a London-based high-flyer, was told that Londoners looking for a seaside break go to Brighton. Bournemouth, she said, “isn’t on our radar”.

It is not a question of accessibility, it’s a question of awareness. Visitors – whether they’re from overseas or from other parts of the UK – are not flocking to Dorset because they don’t like it. They’re not flocking to Dorset because they don’t know about it – it is not on their radar.

Clearly there is work to be done, and potentially very profitable work at that. At the risk of sounding like a stuck record, it is high time we pooled our promotional efforts to put our county – all of it – on the map.

No one town or village can achieve that, but by working together we stand a much better chance of success. Not only must the public and private sectors work together, but businesses, whether they are directly involved in tourism or not, must work together as well.

British and international tourists between them spent £56 billion on their travels last year. For all our sakes, it’s high time we got a slice of that action.

Editor’s note: For further information, please contact Simon Scarborough on 07801 571357 or at


Supporting Bournemouth

We are really fortunate that in addition to the Bournemouth air show, which has now been successfully running for over 10 years, and is the largest show in Europe, we have managed to create a new Wheels festival that commences this bank holiday weekend on the 24th May 2014.

Bournemouth has over 4.8million visitors a year helping to generate more jobs for the town and really setting us apart from our neighbouring seaside destinations. All sectors will benefit from these type of events which is why all our local businesses should get behind them to help promote and support their launch. Hotels have put on packages for those visiting from out of town and wishing to extend their stay, restaurants will be booked up and our retail outlets will see a much larger footfall than usual. With the food and drink festival also fast approaching in June, Bournemouth will be inundated with foodies from all over the Country, with some visitors even travelling from overseas, we really are a destination of choice.

These events are our showcase for Bournemouth and is the reason why I am so passionate about the customer service experience to ensure our visitors come back again. With this in mind Simon Scarborough Associates is working closely with local hoteliers, restaurants and the National Coastal Tourism Academy, NCTA and delivering a programme of workshops aimed to improve the customer service skills of all our client facing teams.

For more information on our NCTA Bitesize Bournemouth training and Simon Scarborough Associates’ services please contact SImon Scarborough on

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Bitesize Bournemouth, a “whistlestop introduction to our great resort”, is certainly something to get one’s teeth into – not least because it is “snappily” presented by yours truly!

Organised by the National Coastal Tourism Academy and aimed at new recruits to the tourism industry, the free 60-minute sessions are being held every other week at different venues across the town.

I give an overview of Bournemouth’s history, its tourist attractions, its transport links,and the delights of the surrounding area, providing a quick-fire introduction to the resort from a visitor’s perspective, and include pointers on how to deliver great customer service.

The responses so far have been flatteringly positive – check out the comments at – and we’re expecting demand to be consistently high.

To find out more and to book your place on the next session, contact Natalie Tye at

I look forward to seeing you there!


Would you Check-in with a Smartphone?

The French hotel company Accor has announced it is rolling out a new smartphone “solution” that will enable travellers to check in and provide credit card details before they arrive, pause merely to collect a keycard, and then check out without queuing to pay the bill. The chain – which owns the Sofitel, Novotel and Ibis brands among others – says the new system will be up and running at 1,000 of its 3,000-plus hotels by the end of this year, giving hotel staff more time to meet and greet their guests.

Frankly, I’m not convinced. Regulars on the London Underground will be familiar with the Oyster Card system, which enables passengers to stump up for their fares in advance, obviating the need to queue for tickets. According to Accor’s theory, that should give London Underground staff more time to meet and greet their travellers. I for one have yet to experience that pleasure!

Travel website has published the results of a survey to show that British travellers, by and large, opt for either three- or four-star hotels. While 35 per cent of us go for three stars and 33 per cent go one star better, only eight per cent of UK residents, the pollsters say, opt to stay in five-star establishments.

The statistics come as no surprise. What is rather more perplexing, however, is that momondo should have spent time and money “researching” something that most of us knew already – we have a tendency to opt for mid-market accommodation.

Another survey, by “hotel solutions provider” HRS, suggests that Budapest is the place to go for cheap accommodation; the average price for a room in the Hungarian capital is a mere €66, or something over £54.

Budapest is an unquestionably lovely city, but if you choose to go there because the rooms are cheap, I suspect you’re missing the point.

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Bournemouth Food & Drink Festival – It’s Nearly Here!

The fourth annual Bournemouth Food & Drink Festival is just weeks away, and Simon Scarborough Associates is more than happy to spread the word!

The ten-day event runs from June 20-29, from 10am to 10pm (8pm on the final Sunday), and promises to be the best yet.

The festival’s “hub” couldn’t be more central – it’s in Bournemouth Square – but we’re promised a host a spin-off events at various venues around the town. Full details will be posted on the website as they are finalised.

There will be plenty to scoff and quaff, all accompanied by live entertainment, cooking demonstrations, and loads of other foodie fun.

The only disappointment as far as we are concerned is that it is only an annual event – in our view, you can’t have too many food festivals!

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