Bournemouth is a large coastal resort town in the Borough of Bournemouth, England. The town has a population of 163,444 according to the 2001 Census, making it the largest settlement in Dorset. It is the largest town on the south coast and the largest settlement between Southampton and Plymouth. With Poole and Christchurch it forms the South East Dorset conurbation, which has a total population of approximately 400,000.
Bournemouth is located 105 miles (169 km) southwest of London and is a retail and commercial centre. Traditionally a large retirement town, Bournemouth has seen massive growth in recent years, especially through the growth of students attending Bournemouth University.
Bournemouth's economy is primarily in the service sector, which employed 93% of the workforce in 2007. This is 10% higher than the average employment in the service sector for Great Britain and the South West. The importance of the manufacturing sector has declined, and is predominantly based in neighbouring Poole, but still employs 3% of the workforce. Tourism is crucial to the economy of Bournemouth, generating £440 million a year and employing thousands of workers. Business tourism alone contributed £127 million in 2007, through delegates and business visitors attending venues such as the BIC and exhibitions in the town.
Bournemouth University is one of the largest universities in the South of England. It was formerly called Bournemouth Polytechnic until 1992 and is one of the better performing ex-polytechnics in England. The main campus is however in neighbouring Poole. Affiliated to the university, the Arts University College at Bournemouth, also officially in Poole, specialises in arts, design and media degree courses. Bournemouth is also a major centre for the teaching of English and has numerous English language schools.