The 2021/22 Dorset Tourism Awards are now open and businesses from across the county are invited to submit their entries.
The Awards, now in their 9th year, cover all of Dorset, including the Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole, offering businesses the chance to win not just locally, but to progress on to the regional South West awards and – for matching categories – the national VisitEngland awards.
The launch comes fresh from the conclusion of the 2020/21 awards, held in what was an extraordinary year for tourism, hospitality and the world. The awards had to change their format several times, with widespread praise from entrants including such comments as: “This was our first year entering and we’ve found the entire process a really positive experience”. Other entrants listed the benefits of entering as increasing bookings, generating PR, boosting staff morale, as well as the free feedback on how their business could be improved. Find out more about the benefits here.
The 2021/22 awards categories cover the full range of tourism-related businesses including pubs, cafes and restaurants as well as accommodation, wedding and business venues, attractions, events and experiences. There is a new award for ‘Resilience and Innovation’, as well as opportunities to submit entries for unsung heroes, new businesses, dog friendly, accessibility and sustainability.
Awards organiser Robin Barker says: “The last year has highlighted the need for tourism to adapt and innovate, and the same applies to the Awards. This year sees new categories, new criteria and an extended entry period giving businesses the chance to enter early ‘before the rush’ or to leave it till they have welcomed more visitors if they prefer. We so look forward to engaging with everyone once again.”
The awards are free to enter as they are supported by many sponsors and partners. Deborah Heather, Director of headline sponsors Quality in Tourism, says: “From the initial Meet the Finalists event, the team at Quality in Tourism were completely wowed by the Dorset Tourism industry in the 2020 Tourism Awards; the resilience, creativity and innovation was incredible; truly delivering in the "happiness" industry. We were inspired to become the Headline Sponsor for the 2021 awards and we literally can't wait to see what these amazing operators do next”.
A series of free online workshops is planned to help entrants, the first being on 25 May. All entries must be submitted online by 31 August but with hopefully a very busy summer ahead it is recommended that businesses start as soon as possible.