NEARLY 8,000 skaters took to the ice in Bournemouth Gardens, despite one of the wettest Decembers on record.
Sessions at the temporary outdoor rink often sold out, with many businesses booking the six-week attraction for staff Christmas outings.
Even when the heavens opened and skaters were offered the chance to transfer to the BIC’s indoor rink they insisted on staying outdoors, with 70 per cent of those who took part in a town centre survey rating the rink as “good” or “excellent.”
The outdoor attraction was commissioned by the Town Centre BID and backed by Bournemouth council to improve the town centre’s appeal during the run-up to Christmas and encourage more seasonal shoppers to visit the resort.
BID chairman Tony Brown said the rink campaign had “a very positive impact” while vice-chairman Andy Duck hailed the rink as “a big first step towards putting Bournemouth on the map as a major Christmas destination.”
He added: “We’ve already started work to make sure Christmas 2013 will be even better.”
Despite challenging times for retailers nationally, town centre BID manager Gregg Dunnett said: “Anecdotal feedback suggests a better than expected Christmas for many traders, despite footfall figures.
“We are continuing to collect data about the town centre’s performance and will be analysing this in detail before sending a summary out to all the BID levy payers in the next few weeks.”
As well as the rink, the BID funded a major advertising campaign promoting the resort’s bars, eateries, shops, gardens and beach.