Exhibitor Spotlight: Bournemouth
What are the advantages of visiting Bournemouth for meetings and business travel?
Bournemouth has an incredibly dynamic vibe and everything a conference organiser and delegate needs. It is a bustling centre of business innovation, creativity and investment with the largest conference, exhibition and entertainment arena on the south coast, award-winning green spaces, an uninterrupted seven-mile stretch of sand and promenade, and hundreds of places to stay, from four-star branded accommodation to boutique hotels and budget B&Bs.
An abundance of green and blue flags makes it one of the UK’s greenest and cleanest resorts and a generous choice of cosmopolitan cafés, town-centre restaurants, bars and shopping has everything a visiting delegate needs. Its many suburbs, within easy reach of the town are quintessentially packed with coastal character, watersports and activities; as well as being home to independent boutiques, shops and eateries.
Bournemouth is unparalleled to anywhere in the UK, offering compelling delegate experiences which will motivate a first-time visitor to return again and again.
What makes Bournemouth stand out from other UK towns and cities?
Bournemouth has thrived on the tourism and hospitality industry for more than two hundred years so we know a thing or two about giving a warm welcome and people what they need. Friendly and knowledgeable people make all the difference.
Location is a top consideration for any event organiser when planning a meeting or event in any destination. Bournemouth ticks all the boxes. It is easily accessible and offers a plentiful range of accommodation and venues.
Nestled in a stunning bay on the central Jurassic coast makes all the difference. Attendees will feel like they really are away from the office with plenty of green spaces to unwind in, miles of safe, sandy beaches to enjoy and the town’s stunning Victorian architecture.
Excellent transport links includes the M27 and M3 providing easy access to London and the national motorway network. Bournemouth also has its own international airport and nearby ferry terminals with daily European crossings.
Are there any exciting new developments happening in Bournemouth, including hotel/venue developments, big events etc.?
A £150 million scheme will transform an underutilised site into the Bournemouth Winter Gardens, including a range of new homes, leisure and social spaces. The area has also seen a significant amount of investment in a string of hotel developments including the £1m restorations of both the Hallmark Hotel Bournemouth Carlton and Derby Manor, and the £1m transformation of the Cliffeside Hotel into the Ocean Beach Hotel & Spa.
Have any stand out events been held in Bournemouth over the past year?
As well as hosting some of the UK’s most successful festivals and air displays, dance, arts and culture, Bournemouth also attracts some of the leading medical, union and corporate associations. Recent events include the Association for Palliative Medicine of Great Britain and Ireland (APM), British Association for Critical Care Nurses, the Society for Acute Medicine, College of Podiatry, British Society of Interventional Radiology, Liberal Democrats, Green Party and Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA).
Other notable events include Bournemouth University’s BFX Festival; the UK's largest visual effects, computer games & animation festival. Future Cheer International is Europe’s largest cheerleading and dance competition – bringing an estimated 21,000 competitors and visitors.
In addition to business events and conferences, there are also new public expos and social conferences - providing entertainment across a range of genres appealing to food and drink fans and hobby-goers alike. Examples include Entoyment’s exciting wargames event, Beachhead 2018, Film and Comic Con Bournemouth, the beer, cider and perry festivals, the UK’s biggest cheese touring festival Cheese Fest UK, Naked Wines Summer Tour, Prosecco Festival and Rum & Reggae.
What would you recommend to visitors to do during their leisure time?
When the eating and drinking are done, there is so much more to do in Bournemouth. As well as the abundant cliff tops, coastal walks and parks, outdoor activities include taking in arts and culture at the Russell Coates museum, enjoying a live music gig or performance in the theatre and regional dance house, a round of golf at one of the many peaceful 18-hole courses, and watersports including kitesurfing and paragliding. Bournemouth also sits at the foot of the stunning New Forest with its ancient woodland, open moors and heathland. The historic towns of Poole and Christchurch are only a few miles away and easily accessible by public transport.
I would also recommend the brand-new town centre leisure complex which hosts an abundance of restaurants, a 10-screen multiplex ODEON cinema, VR and adventure golf attractions.
The town also has a stunning sky bar at the Hilton Hotel called Level8 offering cocktails and canapés with incredible town and coastal views.
Are there any restaurant recommendations or local foods people should try when visiting Bournemouth?
Dorset and Hampshire has an abundant local larder with many restaurants and eateries serving up local treats alongside classics favourites.
Recent openings including Brasserie Blanc at the Bournemouth Highcliff Marriott Hotel; Neo, offering contemporary dining with stunning views; the award winning WestBeach situated on the seafront specialising in seafood and steaks; and TripAdvisor’s number one restaurant in the region ‘Roots’ for sumptuous tasting menus and wines. Other prominent eating places include Urban Reef on Boscombe Promenade who are passionate about provenance and Renoufs, serving international cheese and charcuterie boards in Westbourne and Southbourne.
What do you think is the one unmissable thing to do for anyone visiting Bournemouth?
Bournemouth is a year-round destination and each season has its own must see attractions. In the spring, the garden’s displays and coastal paths are stunning and provide a haven of peace and tranquillity for delegates to unwind from the day and grab a mindful moment. The summer is buzzing with festivals and music events, the autumn brings the colourful arts scene together in a week-long festival, and the winter Christmas markets, wonderland exhibitions and ice-skating rinks are must visit things to do.