Visitors flocked to the town centres of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole over November and December, as people came out to shop local, support the local economy and enjoy all the Christmas festivities on offer.
The official footfall data reveals that more than 8.8 million people visited Bournemouth town centre and Christmas Tree Wonderland over November and December with Christchurch welcoming over 2.77 million visitors over the festive period. Encouragingly, a further 5.75 million people were drawn to Poole in November and December, visiting both the town centre and the new Poole Christmas Maritime Light Festival.
Councillor Philip Broadhead, Portfolio Holder for Development, Growth and Regeneration said: “These footfall figures highlight the impact that initiatives such as our Shop Local campaign as well as our Christmas events, in partnership with the Business Improvement Districts, have made in drawing people to our town centres.
“The local economy is currently facing significant pressures, and while the rail strikes and freezing temperatures in December may have kept some people away from our town centres alongside the general cost of living worries, people were still keen to enjoy the Christmas festivities and visit our area.
“In our Big Plan we set out our vision to support local businesses and create a successful economy in an area where people love to live, learn, work and play, so it’s very important to us that we bring in footfall through these initiatives when it’s needed the most.”
Councillor Beverley Dunlop, Portfolio Holder for Tourism, Culture and Vibrant places added:
“Our Christmas events gave everyone the opportunity to come and enjoy some festive cheer and enjoy the free light trails.
“We’ve all got a tough year ahead, which is why the events we put on as a council are so vital to so many of our residents. Our visitor economy draws in £1billion to the local economy every year andsupports more than 17,000 jobs, so we need to maximise events such as these Christmas ones, so we continue to attract everyone to our three towns and help boost the economy where we can.”
These footfall figures are based on a new method of tracking footfall through Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole based on the movement of smart devices rather than just at fixed points in a very limited area which has been used in previous years, to ensure greater accuracy and understanding of trends.