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Awards Night Video now live on Youtube HERE

A capacity audience of 200 guests witnessed 46 trophies being presented to tourism businesses from across Dorset at the 2nd annual Dorset Tourism Awards at the Tank Museum on Thursday 16th October.

Winners came from all corners of the county – from Lyme Regis and Bridport in the West, Sherborne in the North, Christchurch and Bournemouth in the East, and Weymouth in the South.  Each had been through a rigorous 3-stage judging process involving initial scoring of entry forms, a programme of visits – often mystery visits – and ending with decisions by an independent panel.

Amongst the night’s winners were Lyme Bay RIB Charter in Bridport, picking up Gold in the Tourism Activity, Sport & Experience category as well as boss Simon Miles taking the prestigious award for Outstanding Customer Service.  Bournemouth’s Green House Hotel was another big winner, taking two Golds for Eating Out and Sustainable Tourism alongside a Silver in the Small Hotel category.  South Lytchett Manor Camping & Caravanning Park was also a top winner with Gold in the Holiday Park category as well as Silver for Sustainable Tourism.

The Tank Museum hosted the evening for the 2nd year running, and it was fitting that they also took the Gold awards as Large Attraction of the Year.  Other Gold winners on the night were the Alexandra Hotel in Lyme Regis, The Italian Villa in Poole, Sculpture by the Lakes near Dorchester, The White House in Charmouth, the West Dorset Tourism Information Service and Hotel Miramar in Bournemouth.  In the Self Catering category Greenwood Grange took Gold for the 2nd year running, with Bournemouth Air Festival and the Acorn Inn taking further Golds.

Headline Sponsors Saffery Champness also sponsored the new Tourism Entrepreneur category, with the Gold going to Andrew Lennox of Koh Thai and Silver to Clive Mace of the Grove Tavern. Saffery’s partner Andrew Alder commented:  "The standard of entries this year has been excellent and shows that tourism in Dorset is thriving. It bodes well for the sector as a whole and the Dorset economy in general.

“We were particularly pleased with the Tourism Entrepreneur category which we introduced for this year’s competition.  People willing to innovate and demonstrate leadership are crucial to any sector, none more than tourism where visitors have seemingly infinite choice."

“Once again Dorset has showcased the businesses and organisations which help to make it a world class tourist destination area.”

Guest Speaker on the night was renowned travel writer Sally Shalam, who shared her insights on tourism and its challenges, her observations on Dorset and her insightful comment that “What counts overwhelmingly right now is the public's desire to Stay Like a Local”. (A summary of Sally's presnetation can be found HERE)

The Dorset Tourism Awards were launched in June 2013, following liaison between their founder, Robin Barker, and local tourism leaders.  Robin has been delighted with progress since then, saying: “This year has seen more entries, more sponsors, a bigger event and – most importantly in this globally competitive industry – a further raising in the quality of entries.  I am proud to be part of it.”

Successful businesses in the Dorset Awards will now be fast tracked into the South West Tourism Excellence Awards in February 2015 and then possibly on to the National Visit England Awards later in 2015.

The full list of Winners can be seen HERE

Photos from the evening can be downloaded from:   http://nickwilliamsphotographer.co.uk/p26340636 from 9am Friday 17th.