Resort launches own weather service
A coastal resort town has launched its own weather forecast, claiming a "disastrous" Met Office prediction put off thousands of potential visitors last year.
Bournemouth set up its own local service - the first of its kind in the country - to counter "unpredictable and confusing forecasts".
The move was prompted after last year's "disastrous" Whitsun Bank Holiday prediction from the Met Office for the seaside resort, the borough council said.
The prediction caused - it argues - 25,000 potential visitors to stay at home despite the fact that Bournemouth's seven miles of beaches were "bathed in strong sunshine".
It estimates that forecast resulted in more than £1 million in lost revenue, angering the town's hoteliers and tourism officials.
The new on-line service - www.bournemouthweather.co.uk - offers three-day forecasts allowing visitors "to plan their itineraries and wardrobes with confidence".
Mark Smith, head of Bournemouth Tourism said: "We decided enough is enough. Tourism is too important to Bournemouth to have it damaged by poor forecasts.
"To get the quality and accuracy we need, we have been working with a local weather company, Weathernet, who have many years of experience in producing accurate localised weather forecasts.
"The weather can have a big influence on where tourists go for last-minute getaways in the UK and with the ongoing threat of volcanic ash disrupting flights abroad and uncertainty around BA strikes, even more people will be staying in the UK.
"Accurate weather information increases business and this new forecast will be worth more than £2 million per year in extra trade for Bournemouth through increasing visitors."