BOURNEMOUTH'S Christmas Tree Wonderland will not be taken place this year due to challenges with following social-distancing measures.

The town centre attraction had drawn big visitor numbers to Bournemouth over the past two festive seasons.

However, organisers have now confirmed the tree spectacular, along with the Lower Gardens ice skating rink, will not form part of the town's offering this winter.

For this year the town centre will instead be transformed into an "open-air alpine village".

The "Covid-conscious" seven-week long event, organised by Seventa Events, is set to run from November 13 to January 3.

The plans have been backed by Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Tourism, Coastal BID, the Town Centre BID, Destination Management Board and Yellow Buses and will see the return of the Bethlehem tree, reindeer and some of the other lighting installations.

In order to maintain a steady flow of visitors for safety reasons, there will be fewer market stalls in The Square and the alpine bar will be a single-storey open-air attraction.

Simon Brooks, founder and director of Seventa Events, said: “We have been working hard developing our Covid-19-conscious design for the Bournemouth Christmas Market. We are incredibly excited to be operating an open air 'Alpine Village' Christmas Market and town centre bar offering for 2020.

"We have slightly reduced the number of chalet stall traders, spaced things apart to allow flow of guests and designed an 'Alpine Village Bar' offering which will be under cover but open air.

"The 8m tall Christmas Tree feature Bratwurst stand will return along with the fantastic Bethlehem feature tree from Christmas Tree Wonderland. We look forward to welcoming people to the Christmas Market.”

Read more: Nearly one million people visit Bournemouth Christmas Tree Wonderland

Councillor Vikki Slade, Leader of BCP Council, said: “We are so excited to be able to host these forthcoming celebrations in Bournemouth; all of which have been made with the wellbeing of our residents and visitors being our highest priority. We will be announcing plans for Christchurch and Poole in the coming weeks, as plans are finalised.”

Fiona McArthur, manager of Coastal BID, said: "Over the last two years Christmas Tree Wonderland has proved a huge draw to the town and benefited our levy paying hotels and B&Bs who have contributed to the costs of the event. This year, however, circumstances are different and whilst our hotels have all worked hard to implement COVID19 practices for the safety of their guests and staff, it will be hard to ensure the safety of visitors to an event on the scale of Christmas Tree Wonderland. Health and safety has to come first, and this year we’re delighted and looking forward to co-hosting this worthy alternative.”

Read more: Bournemouth Christmas Tree Wonderland 2019 launch

Town Centre BID chairman Martin Davies said: “We are delighted to be playing a key role in delivering the Christmas offering once again. Our focus is very much on ensuring our brilliant town centre retail and hospitality businesses enjoy a hugely successful festive trading period. We all know that is more important than ever. They will be all be working incredibly hard to ensure every visitor to the town has a great Christmas experience.”

David Squire, managing director for sponsor Yellow Buses, said: “Yellow Buses is proud to support the spend local, stay local and travel local campaign at Christmas, we have a range of frequent services linking all parts of the conurbation and these run well into the evening so leave the car at home and let us be your designated driver this Christmas.”

BCP Tourism said Christmas celebrations taking place at Christchurch and Poole will be announced shortly, with the Lower Gardens ice rink confirmed to return in 2021.