A FESTIVAL celebrating the benefits international culture has brought to Dorset has been hailed a big success.

Organisers of the inaugural One World by the Sea Festival are planning a “bigger and better” version next year.

The community festival, organised by members of the International Education Forum of Bournemouth and Poole, attracted thousands of visitors to events taking place over four days.

Rachel Woodward-Carrick, organiser of the event and director of Bournemouth University International College, said: “Wow, what a brilliant few days it’s been. We’re really proud of the diversity of the festival events that we hosted – we have had everything from music, food and dance to film, fashion and education. It’s been great.

“We are particularly delighted at the numbers that we attracted to our free International Family Day, which took place in the Triangle area of town in Bournemouth.

“We were incredibly lucky with the weather, the sun shone and people came out in their thousands to enjoy the packed programme of events.

“There was so much live music and dance to enjoy and visitors weren’t shy in joining in either. There was a mix of food stalls, including Greek, Italian, North African street food, speciality burgers and tropical juices. We even had Thai-inspired pan-rolled ice-cream.”

Chris Davis international pathways manager at Bournemouth University, said: “We’re already looking forward to planning next year’s event, building on what we’ve learnt this year and making the festival even bigger and better.

“We’ve loved showcasing the amazing international talent that we enjoy in Bournemouth and Poole and we are keen to ensure that we make the One World By The Sea Festival a permanent fixture in Bournemouth’s ever-growing calendar of events and to be a part of the town’s thriving BOMO festival programme.”

The BOMO brand was devised this year to unite five autumn festivals taking place in Bournemouth.

They were the BFX animation and gaming festival; the careers conference Digital Wave; the Silicon Beach digital and creative festival; the Arts by the Sea Festival; and the One World by the Sea Festival celebrating international education.

Mr Davis added: “We would like to thank all our supporters, but in particular the Town Centre BID, Dorset Race Equality Council and Bournemouth University. Without their support none of this would have been possible.”