A resort management taskforce will make sure Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole are fully prepared and ready to both welcome back visitors and keep residents safe when government guidance changes.
Led by BCP Council, a multi-partner management control centre at Bournemouth seafront will operate from the beginning of April to the end of September to co-ordinate operations that will manage any increase in visitors - a model that has been used successfully for more than 12 years when the town has played host to major international events.
With a focus on the town centres, open spaces, seafront and beaches, the summer ready taskforce will put in place and manage:
- extra civil enforcement officers to issue penalty charge notices for those parking illegally
- additional tow away operations to deal with irresponsible parking
- expansion of the ranger team with more staff in place across the season to welcome back visitors, keep our beaches clean and safe, and provide a greater security presence
- enhanced security teams to patrol key town centre locations, car parks, beaches and open spaces
- extra waste bins in heavy footfall areas, and
- additional waste collection services along the seafront.
The council led taskforce will also work with transport providers outside the area to identify any potential increase in visitors arriving, ensuring targeted messaging is in place to make sure those coming to the area are aware of the behaviours expected of them.
Enhanced onsite signage will also be in place to encourage visitors to protect, respect and enjoy the three towns. Supported by existing campaigns such as Leave Only Footprints, extra focus will be on encouraging people to enjoy and not damage our coastline, as well as targeted information on the enforcement measures that will be in place.
The council has set aside more than £1million from government funding to set up the taskforce and make sure the resort is prepared.
Councillor Mohan Iyengar, Portfolio Holder for Tourism, Leisure and Culture, BCP Council, said:
“We are proud to be a leading destination, welcoming around 13million visitors a year. This visitor economy generates around £1bn to the local economy, and supports more than 17,000 jobs directly with many services also relying on this. The livelihoods of many local residents rely on this visitor economy, and this last year has been tremendously challenging for operators across hospitality, accommodation, transport, marine, sports, arts, culture, events and many others. It’s important that we support those businesses by engineering the fastest bounce back possible and this year will be one of opportunity. We will welcome people back when it’s safe to do so, making sure we provide a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone.
“Equally we know that some residents will feel concerned about this year’s busy season and it’s important that we plan and be ready for when lockdown eases and people come to visit.
“Fighting coronavirus and keeping our residents safe is a priority for us and this will be the driving factor behind any decisions we take. As the situation improves and government guidance changes, we hope to be able to welcome visitors back to our towns. We want to re-start activities quickly post-lockdown but host visitors in a way that is safe.
“At this time last year, COVID-19 was new to the world and many were taken by surprise. This time, a multi-agency plan led by BCP Council, the police and other partners will draw on the learnings from summer’20 and from our knowledge of a year living with the virus. It will also bring in our experience of staging the Bournemouth Air Festival for 12 years which has ensured more than a million attendees enjoy the event safely and with orderly behaviour.
“This time, we’ll see more enforcement around car-parking and anti-social behaviour. Litter and waste-management will be stepped up to keep our resort looking its best. Communications and signage will encourage people more strongly to dispose of their rubbish properly and take away whatever they brought.
“The messaging from us throughout will be that we welcome responsible visitors to our resorts: People who will treat things with care, behave reasonably and pick up after themselves. We’ll also be clear that some of the behaviours last year will not be tolerated and will be dealt with. Our partners will take whatever action is necessary.”
Assistant Chief Constable Sam de Reya, Dorset Police, said: “We know that everyone will be waiting with baited breath for how the Government intends to lift the current lockdown restrictions over the coming months.
“We fully expect the numbers of people travelling into Dorset this summer for a staycation to be higher than ever before. We are committed to leading policing operations to deal with the extra demand summer will bring and will continue to work proactively with our partners to coordinate and strengthen our plans. We want the county open and welcoming visitors so our businesses, that rely heavily on tourism, can thrive and we get the economy moving.
“However, encouraging people to visit Dorset must not be at the expense of people’s health. Our communities should feel reassured that the huge amount of planning already underway should allow people to travel into Dorset and enjoy what the county has to offer, while keeping both residents and visitors safe.”