BOURNEMOUTH is selling itself short in welcoming visitors, a meeting was told.

Businesspeople, councillors and members of the town’s hospitality industry have been updated on plans to overhaul Bournemouth’s way-finding system – including signs and maps.

Briefings held at the BIC updated plans to improve the way in which people get around the town.

The issue is being looked at by contractor Applied, which is putting forward ideas for an integrated system to simplify how people are guided around town.

The firm has revamped towns and cities across the UK, including Brighton, Ipswich, Glasgow and London.

Richard Simon, from Applied, said the aim was to increase the quality of visitor experience and inform people better about tourism, leisure, retail and business facilities.

He said tourism added £426million to the area’s economy each year.

“We found 11 or 12 different systems that people had to understand and that causes problems for people,” he said.

“We came in to think about how this can be joined up into a single system.

“If they have that, they understand the town better and if that happens you can optimise their experience,” said Richard.

Recommendations include creating a welcome – with Bournemouth railway station cited as an example of the town’s lack of greeting.

A simple colour-coded map – available in print, online and on smartphones – would be created and pedestrians would benefit from a route network and new signage.

Vehicle signs, particularly directing people to car parks, would be made simpler.

Designs will be drawn up this summer before being presented in the autumn.

Mark Smith, Bournemouth director of tourism, said: “We want people to find that the experience here is so good that they don’t just want to come back, but tell other people aswell.

“This is about a joined-up exercise that takes in everybody’s interests.”

Mr Smith said delivery of the signs and map would happen over the next five years – with financial constraints the main reason for them being phased in.

He added: “We’re selling ourselves short in this town and we need to get moving on getting it right and making it better.”