Bournemouth hotels are expected to be at full capacity by tomorrow, as tens of thousands of visitors flock to the built-up area for the bank holiday weekend.
It is shaping up to be the busiest weekend of the year yet, less than a fortnight after the government sanctioned the lifting of even more lockdown restrictions.
Dorset’s hospitality sector has come back to life since it was allowed to open to customers inside earlier this month.
With lingering question marks about overseas travel, the county hopes to capitalize on the “stay” boom.
Yesterday, Tim Seward, chairman of the Bournemouth Area Hospitality Association, told the Daily Echo that hotels are filling up quickly, with some already full.
“It will be a full weekend – Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
“Even halfway through, there are hotels reporting bookings where we were last summer.
“It’s very simple, the hotels will be full this bank holiday weekend.
“We’re going to take the stage this weekend when there is no more housing, there will be people coming to look for rooms and there will only be a few random rooms in town.
“Everyone is at the maximum.
“The hotels will be at 99 or even 100% occupancy by Saturday night.”
While thousands of visitors represent a welcome boost for the hospitality industry, which has been economically battered by the pandemic, some residents have issued a note of caution.
They are hoping to see no repeat of last summer’s crowds at Bournemouth Beach, which has led the BCP Council to declare a major incident.
After an extended period of wet and windy weather, sunshine is forecast for Bournemouth from Saturday to midweek. Temperatures of 20 ° C are expected.
BCP Councilor Drew Mellor said, “We are a premier vacation destination that proudly welcomes millions of visitors every year and this year is no exception.
“With the holiday approaching and the Covid-19 restrictions now significantly relaxed, we have planned thoroughly and are ready for the summer season with all of our additional measures in place to provide a safe and enjoyable experience for all. I also strongly remind those who intend to visit that they must respect and protect as well as take advantage of what the region has to offer and declare that action will be taken against those who do not.
Meanwhile, Sophie Ricketts, BCP Council Seasonal Response Manager, said: “We welcome our visitors; over 17,000 jobs in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole depend on our tourism industry, but we urge people to protect our natural environment, respect our staff and each other, while enjoying what we have to offer.
“The BeachCheck app is live with information on beach and parking density and we encourage anyone traveling by car to use it, or to use our recently opened Park and Ride site at Kings Park.”
Dorset Police said they had prepared for the expected influx of visitors to Bournemouth – and the wider Dorset County area – during the spring and summer.
Chief Superintendent Mark Callaghan said: ‘The expected restrictions on international travel will inevitably see people coming to Dorset for a stay and we are proactively working with our partners to coordinate and strengthen plans to keep residents safe. and visitors.
“We are delighted that the county has reopened its doors so that we can welcome people back to Dorset, but it cannot come at the expense of people’s health.
“We continue to ask people to respect the Covid-19 restrictions while lightening the roadmap so as not to undo the good work that has already been done.”
Meanwhile, Deputy Fire Chief Andy Cole, of the Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: ‘With the latest easing of restrictions from Covid-19, we expect more people to visit our beautiful countryside during the mid-term break.
“Following the devastating fire in Wareham Forest a year ago, we ask locals and visitors to #BringAPicnicNotABBQ when they like to hang out.”