Winners of the 2021/22 Dorset Tourism Awards enjoyed an extra celebration with a spring party for 120 winners and sponsors at Sculpture by the Lakes on 19 May, when three special prizes were announced.
The event was a welcome opportunity for tourism winners, leaders and sponsors to meet face-to-face and receive their Stuart Wiltshire glass trophies, whilst enjoying an al fresco barbecue prepared in the brand-new kitchen, designed and built by sculptor Simon Gudgeon.
There was a special Apprenticeship award presented by John Heather from NFU Mutual Bournemouth to Jill Meyerhoff of Hall and Woodhouse. Explaining the award, John said: “The individual and company I’m giving the award to has in its values that every team member progresses on the basis of talent, dedication and performance with no limit as to what they can achieve. This is reflected in their recent apprenticeship programme where working with Dorset Council they built a programme for teenagers reaching the end of care, a programme that was very successful.”
A second surprise award was the Outstanding Contribution to Dorset Tourism, presented to Richard Smith, Chair of Dorset Tourism Association and Director of The Tank Museum. Sara Uzzell, Deputy Chair of Dorset LEP, announced the award saying: “Over 16 years Richard has developed the Tank Museum to be one of Dorset’s best and most successful visitor attractions. On top of his tank-filled day-job, Richard has endless energy for making the entire Dorset tourism sector a huge success. He champions all hospitality and tourism businesses, across Dorset - he lobbies stakeholders, he fights for funding and he promotes talent, engagement and product development. Dorset is a better place for visitors and businesses thanks to Richard’s passion for collaboration and excellence.”
The final award of the night was the Winner of Winners Trophy presented by awards organiser Robin Barker to West Bay Discovery Centre. Presenting the award, Robin explained: “There are no set criteria for this award but one entrant won in several categories and has now gone on to be a national Finalist. They won a gold award for Ethical, Responsible and Sustainable Tourism, a further gold for Visitor Information, and bronze for Small Visitor Attraction.”
The event was also able to celebrate the four Dorset businesses who have been announced as finalists in the national VisitEngland awards: Nothe Fort, West Bay Discovery Centre, All Hallows Farmhouse Cookery School and The Acorn Inn. They will have to wait until the national awards ceremony on 8th June at the Library of Birmingham to find out if they win Gold, Silver or Bronze.
Deborah Heather from Headline Sponsors Quality in Tourism commented: “Quality in Tourism takes great pride in being headline sponsor for the Dorset awards and celebrating truly inspirational businesses, it is an honour and a privilege to be part of the awards.”