THE BEST of Dorset’s tourism attractions have been recognised in a glittering ceremony.

There were plenty of West Dorset winners in the Dorset Tourism Awards 2014, which took place at Bovington Tank Museum last night.

Amongst them were the Lyme Bay RIB Charter in Bridport, picking up Gold in the Tourism Activity, Sport & Experience category as well as boss Simon Miles taking the prestigious award for Outstanding Customer Service. Other Gold winners were the Alexandra Hotel in Lyme RegisSculpture by the Lakes near Dorchester, The White House in Charmouth, and the West Dorset Tourism Information Service.

The Dorset Tourism Awards were launched in June 2013, following liaison between founder Robin Barker and local tourism leaders. Robin has been delighted with progress since then, saying: “This year has seen more entries, more sponsors, a bigger event and – most importantly in this globally competitive industry – a further raising in the quality of entries. I am proud to be part of it.”

Successful businesses in the Dorset Awards will now be fast tracked into the South West Tourism Excellence Awards in February 2015 and then possibly on to the National Visit England Awards later in 2015.

Partner at headline awards sponsor Saffery’s Andrew Alder said: "The standard of entries this year has been excellent and shows that tourism in Dorset is thriving. It bodes well for the sector as a whole and the Dorset economy in general.

“We were particularly pleased with the Tourism Entrepreneur category which we introduced for this year’s competition. People willing to innovate and demonstrate leadership are crucial to any sector, none more than tourism where visitors have seemingly infinite choice."

“Once again Dorset has showcased the businesses and organisations which help to make it a world class tourist destination area.”