BOURNEMOUTH is set to be transformed into an open-air alpine village this Christmas.
The very successful Winter Wonderland the town has welcomed for the last two years has been put on hold, amid the Coronavirus pandemic, and instead a Covid-conscious seven-week long event (13 November – 3 January) is planned to celebrate the festivities.
Organised by Seventa Events and backed by Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Tourism, Coastal BID, the Town Centre BID, Destination Management Board and Yellow Buses, the event will see the return of the Bethlehem tree, the much-loved reindeer and other lighting installations.
In order to maintain a steady flow of visitors for safety reasons, there will be fewer market stalls in The Square and the alpine bar will be a single-storey open-air attraction.
Simon Brooks, founder and director of Seventa Events, said: “We have been working hard developing our Covid-19-conscious design for the Bournemouth Christmas Market. We are incredibly excited to be operating an open air ‘Alpine Village’ Christmas Market and town centre bar offering for 2020. We have slightly reduced the number of chalet stall traders, spaced things apart to allow flow of guests and designed an ‘Alpine Village Bar’ offering which will be under cover but open air. The 8m tall Christmas Tree feature Bratwurst stand will return along with the fantastic Bethlehem feature tree from Christmas Tree Wonderland. We look forward to welcoming people to the Christmas Market.”
Due to constraints around social-distancing measures, the ice rink will not form part of the town’s offering for 2020 but is set to reappear in 2021.
Cllr Vikki Slade, Leader of BCP Council, said: “We are so excited to be able to host these forthcoming celebrations in Bournemouth; all of which have been made with the wellbeing of our residents and visitors being our highest priority. We will be announcing plans for Christchurch and Poole in the coming weeks, as plans are finalised.”
Fiona McArthur, manager of Coastal BID said: “Over the last two years Christmas Tree Wonderland has proved a huge draw to the town and benefited our levy paying hotels and B&Bs who have contributed to the costs of the event. This year, however, circumstances are different and whilst our hotels have all worked hard to implement COVID19 practices for the safety of their guests and staff, it will be hard to ensure the safety of visitors to an event on the scale of Christmas Tree Wonderland. Health and safety has to come first, and this year we’re delighted and looking forward to co-hosting this worthy alternative.”
Town Centre BID chairman, Martin Davies, said: “We are delighted to be playing a key role in delivering the Christmas offering once again. Our focus is very much on ensuring our brilliant town centre retail and hospitality businesses enjoy a hugely successful festive trading period. We all know that is more important than ever. They will be all be working incredibly hard to ensure every visitor to the town has a great Christmas experience.”
David Squire, managing director for sponsor Yellow Buses, said: “Yellow Buses is proud to support the spend local, stay local and travel local campaign at Christmas, we have a range of frequent services linking all parts of the conurbation and these run well into the evening so leave the car at home and let us be your designated driver this Christmas.”
Christmas celebrations taking place at Christchurch and Poole will be announced shortly.