Hospitality & Tourism

Published: October 16, 2019 | Updated: October 16, 2019

Big day arrives as the cream of the county are honoured at the 2019 Dorset Tourism Awards

By Andrew Diprose, editor

The biggest day in the calendar of Dorset’s thriving tourism sector has arrived.

Tonight – Thursday October 17 – will see the cream of the county’s businesses honoured at the 2019 Dorset Tourism Awards.

Around 260 people are expected to attend a glittering awards dinner at The Tank Museum, Bovington.

A record 146 entries were received for the 26 categories, plus two special awards, with 77 selected as finalists.

They will be held in suspense until Steve Harris, of BBC Dorset, announces whether they’ve won gold, silver or bronze awards. A further 12 will receive commended status.

The seventh year of the competition has seen a large number of changes including new entry forms, new processes and a closer link with the regional South West and national VisitEngland Awards.

Judging has also changed with an increased focus on digital presence and evidence.

Robin Barker, of Services for Tourism and Awards Organiser, pictured, said: “Change is one of the constants in business success and so it is with awards entrants and our own teams, who this year have completed a record 115 judging visits to Dorset businesses in their search for exemplars of excellence.

“This year has also seen our own recognition winning a gold accreditation in the Awards Trustmark scheme, the only holders of this accolade in the region or in UK tourism, and I’d like to publicly acclaim the contribution of all those in our teams whose professionalism has made this possible.”

The headline sponsor for the 2019 Dorset Tourism Awards is Saffery Champness Chartered Accountants.

Nick Fernyhough, Partner, pictured left, said: “Interest in the awards has continued to increase year on year and the judging panel were thoroughly delighted at this year’s numbers.

“What has been particularly pleasing is to see the number of first-time finalists as well as lots of new brand names and first-time entries.

​”The awards continue to reflect the constant improvement in the tourism industry in the county.

“Saffery Champness Accountants are delighted to be headline sponsors for yet another year.  We are very much looking forward to recognising and rewarding outstanding achievements by Dorset businesses.”

This year’s guest speaker is Simon Cripps, Chief Executive of Dorset Wildlife Trust.

  • will be at the awards with a full report, results and pictures on our business news website from Friday October 18.