This week we met up for a chat with Steve Turner, member of the Bournemouth & Poole Tourism Management Board and Divisional General Manager for BH Live, to find out why he describes his role as ‘one of the best jobs in the region’!
What’s the ‘day job’?
I think I have one of the best jobs in the region! I’m the Divisional General Manager for BH Live and look after two of the South Coast’s top venues; Bournemouth International Centre (BIC) and Bournemouth Pavilion.
We host more than 500 events throughout the year including high-profile conferences, industry and consumer exhibitions, festivals, dinners, galas, awards, shows and entertainment with international acts including Barry Manilow, Kylie, Snow Patrol and Craig David.
The BIC is the largest event venue in the region and Bournemouth Pavilion is a Grade II listed theatre with a stunning Art Deco ballroom.
What drives you and makes you get out of bed in the morning?
Every day is totally different. We can be contracting shows and performers, building an ice rink or a show set, setting up large scale hospitality events, running creative learning programmes, planning and conducting site visits for major conferences, hosting events across multiple arena spaces and representing the region at national association events.
For example, I sit on the National Arenas Association steering group which influences national industry standards in event venues. I love the unique challenges and diversity that my role brings and I get to work with some amazing people.
It’s such a privilege to be part of our event and tourism scene which makes a difference to so many people’s lives.
Where does tourism fit in?
Each year, thousands of delegates come to conferences and exhibitions in our venues and this drives business tourism. Additionally, more than half a million tickets are sold for shows, concerts and events generating cultural tourism. Combined, this contributes more than £50m for the local economy by filling hotels, restaurants, shops and supporting more than 4,500 jobs across the tourism sector. Furthermore, this creates a real buzz in the town.
I get lots of satisfaction when I see the town bustling with delegates and show-goers who are sometimes experiencing Bournemouth for the first time. It’s so fulfilling to see them having a great time and we hope this generates super reviews so they come back again and again with their friends and families.
What’s your role on the Bournemouth & Poole Tourism Management Board (BPTMB)?
I chair the ‘conference and convention’ sub-group within BPTMB and represent this sector on the main board. Conferences, exhibitions and events provide year round footfall into the region and it is vital that this area of our economy is represented.
I keep people informed about what’s coming up so tourism providers and sectors, including accommodation, transport, retail, hospitality and tourism services, can consider how they can support the events programme and plan ahead. Working together in this way ensures we are all geared up to provide the joined-up services visitors need and to make sure that they feel welcomed. This can make a real difference to a visitor’s overall experience.
In your opinion, what’s the board’s most important function?
I think it’s to work towards common goals for the benefit of the region. Individually, the sectors are all doing fantastic work, but it’s by working together that we can give visitors an even better experience. I also think that by collectively sharing our plans, and working together on a town strategy to drive tourism, we can help to shape town investment such as infrastructure, public space enhancements and new developments.
What’s also great is that the board recognises the contribution that business and individuals make in the annual Bournemouth and Poole Tourism Awards (BAPTAs). This is an evening where we celebrate our tourism heroes by recognising excellence. It also promotes a culture of continuous improvement, which is always a good thing, and provides a healthy dose of friendly competition!
About BH Live
BH Live is the south coast’s leading operator of leisure and event venues; a social enterprise that designs and builds engaging experiences to inspire people and enrich lives.