​Promoting health and wellbeing in Dorset

Bournemouth University and the National Coastal Tourism Academy have won funding from The Economic and Social Research Council to research the importance of, and potential for, a health and wellbeing proposition in Dorset and the impact of knowledge transfer on its tourism businesses.

Called Destination FEELGOOD, the project will work with between 50 and 100 visitor-facing businesses to inspire innovation in healthy lifestyle products and services for visitors, and thereby boost business performance. The project will inspire visitor-facing businesses in developing new health and wellbeing products, such as exercise and spa packages, to encourage a healthier lifestyle.

The business networks will meet every two to three months for a year, starting this autumn. Three unique ‘Ideas Cafés’ in Bournemouth, Weymouth and Dorchester will provide an opportunity to stimulate ideas, business-to-business mentoring and time for networking, along with a chance to hear guest speakers share best practice in health and wellbeing tourism.

The NCTA will recruit 10 business champions to ensure exchange of ideas and knowledge sharing continues beyond the project’s lifetime.

Maintaining and improving both physical and emotional wellbeing is increasingly on the public’s agenda. This funding will enable the NCTA and BU to work across Dorset in helping tourism businesses to meet the consumer expectations resulting from this emerging trend.

Participating businesses could also be assigned consultancy projects to Bournemouth University hospitality, sport and tourism students. They will be looking at three key areas – marketing and product opportunities, employee wellbeing and food innovation and legislation.

The project will be tracked to monitor the performance of participating businesses and measure its knowledge transfer impact. Key organisations such as Active Dorset and public health consultants will also be engaged to optimise the spin-off benefits to local residents.

Visitor-facing businesses who would like to take part should email the Destination FEELGOOD project team here.

by Alex Moss