Title Sponsor

2016 Awards launched

After a record year, in which the South West’s tourism awards schemes attracted 490 entries with over 100 winners and 26 going on to become national finalists, the 2016/17 cycle has started and hospitality businesses across Dorset are invited to enter.

Reflecting trends in the industry each year brings changes to the awards, and 2016 sees new awards for Glamping, for individual Self Catering properties and the introduction of a Dog Friendly category.  Industry feedback has also led to criteria changes for the Attraction, Small Hotel and B&B awards.  Other categories cover Spas and Wellbeing, Activity Providers, Events, Festivals, Cafes, Pubs, Restaurants, B&Bs, Hotels, Attractions, Tourist Information, Business Tourism and Holiday Parks.  There are also generic awards for Outstanding Customer Service, Accessibility. International Visitor Experience and Sustainability.

Another development this year as a result of business feedback is the shortening of entry forms, reflecting the fact that most of the judging is based on visits.

The Awards website includes new case studies from recent finalists, each of them sharing their top tips on why businesses should enter and how to win:

Owen Williams from The Balincourt in Bournemouth says: “Winning the tourism awards gave the whole team at the Balincourt a huge sense of achievement. Being judged by experienced assessors gave us a perspective on how much progress we’d actually made in improving all aspects of our business, and the areas where we could do even better. We would recommend anyone in the tourism industry to take part.”

Kate Davies of Moors Valley Country Park says: "We were thrilled with our awards last year, especially considering the high calibre of the other entrants. The Dorset Tourism Awards have been a wonderful opportunity for us to take a fresh and considered look at our visitor offer and customer journey from start to finish. The feedback from the judges’ visits has been very useful."

Headline sponsors of the Dorset Tourism Awards is Saffery Champness. Nick Fernyhough, Partner, says: “We are delighted to be the Headline Sponsor for yet another year for these prestigious Awards which reward excellence in this essential sector of the Dorset economy.  We really like how the Dorset Tourism Awards have expanded to reflect the changing shape of tourism.”

The Dorset awards sit alongside the Cornwall, Devon, new Bristol, Bath & Somerset, and South West awards.  These are independent, but linked in that winners from the county awards are fast-tracked into the South West awards, with most South West winners submitted to the national VisitEngland awards.  Entry is free, the programmes being funded by a range of sponsors and partners, and all entrants receive feedback.

The deadline for entering all five schemes is midnight on 12th June, but businesses are encouraged to start preparing now and not leave it to the last minute. 

Full details can be found at the awards website www.dorsettourismawards.org.uk