Is Bournemouth on the Radar?

Chatting recently to a London-based tourism industry high-flyer, a colleague was somewhat taken aback to learn that “Bournemouth just isn’t on our radar – if we want to head out to the coast, we go to Brighton”!

Disappointing, but hardly surprising.  The East Sussex resort has excellent road links, and the train journey takes around an hour; driving into Bournemouth on a Friday evening can be a nightmare, and the train trip is nearer two hours. However, there’s clearly a sales and marketing opportunity being missed here – Christchurch, Bournemouth and Poole (and SouthWest Trains), please note!

For some months now, Simon Scarborough Associates has been working with the staff and management at the historic Hotel Miramar, on Bournemouth’s Eastcliff.  And the news has just come through that the property has been upgraded from three AA stars to a prestigious four-star ranking – making it, officially, one of the very best hotels in town.  Many congratulations are due to general manager David Bailey and his team.  Can five stars be far behind?

By all accounts, the Easter opening of the new CoastalActivityPark, extending along 1.5 kilometres of beach on either side of Boscombe pier, attracted quite a crowd.  There are a host of facilities for beach sports, boulders and rock-pools for younger explorers, and various pieces of gym equipment arrayed along the Undercliff promenade.

It is a welcome addition to the seafront, but to describe it as a “tourist attraction”, as some have done, is stretching a point.  Visitors will use it, but one questions whether they will be “attracted” by it.  One suspects it will take more than a glorified playground to bring increased numbers of tourists to our town.