A new year and a chance to take stock and move forward

It’s incredibly encouraging to hear news from almost all our partners and colleagues from across the tourism industry in Bournemouth, that 2013 has in the most part been a great year.

Blessed with great weather, a fantastic events programme and of course the enviable location, the icing on the cake was Bournemouth’s success at the British Travel Awards, winning Best UK coastal resort 2013.

It’s been a good year for Poole too, which was one of the key messages from Poole Tourism and their industry partners at the Poole Tourism Annual Conference in November.

With a positive impact on visitor numbers, it seems the good weather had made the year easier and helped recoup the poor performance from 2012.

But as we start the new year, it’s time to take stock and plan ahead.

With engagement in the tourism industry at such a high level of interest at the moment, backed by the recent Visit Britain and Deloitte survey which highlights the value and importance of tourism to the country, what better time to invest in our visitor experience and ensure that Bournemouth and the surrounding area are at the forefront of growth in the sector.

2014 looks to be a busy but exciting year for Bournemouth and the tourism industry as a whole, I highly recommend a read of the recent report Domestic Leisure Trends by Visit England. Personally I was interested in the increasing importance of investment in mobile technology – did you know 22% of the UK population only access the internet via mobile devices, yet only 54% of travel businesses have a mobile optimised site – are you equipped for the mobile traveller? Can you afford to ignore 22% of the UK population?

Other useful insights were the increasing trend in multi-generational travel (Grandparents, parents, and children) and the need for flexible accommodation spaces to cope with today’s diverse family mix, as well as a projected significant increase in travellers with accessibility requirements.

Over the next few months, the NCTA will be running training courses, undertaking research and pushing forward with our initiatives to improve customer care and the visitor experience. I encourage anyone involved in the industry to engage with us and invest in your future – don’t miss this fantastic opportunity to capitalise on the investment central government has put in the town through the National Coastal Tourism Academy.

By Samantha Richardson