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Top Dorset Tourism Businesses Invited - STOP PRESS

This year's awards are now closed for entry and judging is well under way.

A year since the launch of the inaugural Dorset Tourism Awards, nearly 70 entrants are now being judged as part of the 2014 Dorset Awards.

The Awards were launched with the aim of helping Dorset become more widely recognised as a top quality tourism destination and Dorset businesses being recognised as excellent through success in the regional and national awards.  Organiser Robin Barker is delighted by successes to date, saying: “In 2012 just 4 Dorset & Bournemouth businesses made it through to the finals of the South West awards.  With the help of the Dorset awards, that figure has now tripled to 13, and our aim is to grow it still further.”

At an informal ‘soft launch’ at National Trust Kingston Lacy, itself a Gold winner in the 2013 Awards, winners and sponsors shared their passion for the awards.

Martin Cox, owner of Highlands End Holiday Park near Bridport and a double Gold winner on the night, said he had been both proud and honoured by the park’s success, and delighted to be able to share it with his staff.

Jane Gould, of the Inn at Cranborne, who took Gold in the Pub category, said: “Right from the start the application process is a powerful motivator for staff.  When we won we splashed the news on every piece of paper and digital marketing we could.  We also had a Happy Hour celebrating with our loyal customer club.” (Visit www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01yzpmn to hear Jane's interview on BBC Radio Solent - fast forward to 1 hr 44 mins into programme)

Andrew Alder, partner with the headline sponsor, Bournemouth accountants Saffery Champness, said: “After the success of the inaugural Dorset Tourism Awards we are delighted to continue with our arrangement and this year we are introducing two new initiatives. Firstly, we are going to sponsor a Tourism Entrepreneur Award to recognise individual innovation and leadership within the tourism industry. Safferys values and supports Entrepreneurs and the vision and drive which builds successful businesses. Secondly, shortly after the Awards evening in October, Safferys will be hosting a Winners Dinner to celebrate the achievements of gold award winners.

Mr Alder added: “The standard of entries last year was superb and surpassed all expectations – 2014 has all the ingredients to be even better!”

The Awards include 16 categories and are open to all sectors of the industry across Dorset, including accommodation, attractions, events, activity providers, pubs, places to eat & drink and venues. They will culminate in an Awards ceremony at the Tank Museum, Bovington on Thursday 16th October 2014. Winners will then be fast tracked into the South West awards, with South West winners submitted to the national VisitEngland awards in 2015.  Entry is free and all entrants receive feedback.

Full information, guidance notes and entry forms can be found via the options on this website, starting with Why Enter?