BOURNEMOUTH is seeing the biggest boom from the government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme, according to new research.

Data from the Centre for Cities High Street Recovery Tracker reveals the town is top when it comes to encouraging people to dine out.

According to the thinktank, Bournemouth recorded a 23 percentage point increase in evening visitors between Mondays and Wednesdays in early August.

Bournemouth also had the biggest rise in footfall between June 29 and August 3 with a 59 percentage point increase, the UK average for the same period was 11.

And when it came to heading back to the office, the town also had one of the biggest increases in worker footfall from the end of June to early August coming seventh place out of the 10 city or town centres.

Centre for Cities’ chief executive Andrew Carter said: “Good weather and the Eat Out to Help Out scheme have helped increase the number of visitors to city and town centres. But a question mark remains over whether the footfall increase that we have seen this summer can be sustained into the autumn without the good weather and Government incentive – particularly with so many people still working from home.”

Mr Carter added: “Shops, restaurants and pubs face an uncertain future while office workers remain at home. So, in the absence of a big increase in people returning to the office, the Government must set out how it will support the people working in city centre retail and hospitality who could well find themselves out of a job by Christmas.”

Using mobile phone data, the tracker shows that the Eat Out to Help Out scheme has encouraged more people to visit city and town centres.

The scheme, which sees diners receive a 50 per cent discount off food and non-alcoholic drinks when visiting participating restaurants, ends later this month.

On average on Monday to Wednesday evenings in early August visitor numbers were 8 percentage points higher than in late July.

Other seaside towns such as Southend, Blackpool and Brighton have also benefited.

However, the scheme has been less effective in large cities, the research showed.

In London, the number of city centre visitors on Eat Out to Help Out nights was just three percentage points higher than the same nights in late July – one of the lowest increases in the UK.

In contrast, average footfall on Eat Out to Help Out nights in small cities was on average 10 percentage points higher than in late July and in medium sized cities it was 14 percentage points higher.