A MAMMOTH 51 awards will be presented to leading tourism businesses from Dorset this year as part of the county-wide awards ceremony.

The finalists for the Dorset Tourism Awards have now been revealed with a record-breaking number of entries this year.

First launched in 2012, the awards have sought to recognise and celebrate the role of tourism played in the business community and this year there have been 76 entries across 17 categories.

The awards will culminate in a ceremony at the Tank Museum, Bovington on Thursday, October 15.

Robin Barker of Services for Tourism, who created the awards programme, said: “The last year has seen huge achievements for Dorset, with more businesses than ever before going on to win in Dorset, regionally and nationally.

“This year’s winner list is bigger than ever and I’d like to commend all finalists for being at the forefront of what is one of the world’s biggest, most dynamic and fastest growing industries.”

Winning businesses will automatically be entered into the South West Tourism Excellence Awards held in February next year.

Attractions in West Dorset up for an award include the Pommery Dorset Seafood Festival (tourism event of the year), Higher Moor Farm Camp Site in Weymouth and Highlands End Holiday Park, Bridport (holiday park of the year) and Bagwell Farm Touring Park (sustainable tourism award).

The finalists are:

Small hotel of the year: Best Western The Grange at Oborne; The Eastbury, Sherborne, The Grove Hotel, Bournemouth Small visitor attraction of the year: Compton Acres; Poole Potter; RNLI College; The Ark (all from Poole)

Holiday park of the year award: Higher Moor Farm Camp Site, Weymouth; Highlands End Holiday Park, Bridport; Hoburne Park, Christchurch Access and inclusivity award: BOD Bournemouth; Moors Valley

Country Park and Forest Cafe and tearoom of the year: Aroma Coffee House and Kitchen, Lyme Regis; Symondsbury Kitchen; Worth Matravers Tea and Supper Room

Tourism event of the year: Pommery Dorset Seafood festival; Poole Harbour Boat Show; Sherborne Abbey Festival; Bovington Tankfest

Bed and breakfast and guest accommodation of the year: Bradle Farmhouse, Wareham; Launceston Farm, Blandford; The Balincourt, Bournemouth Venue and business tourism award: Marsham Court Hotel, Bournemouth; Italian Villa, Poole

Tourist information service of the year: Bournemouth TIC, Discover Purbeck Information Centre; Wareham and the Swanage TIC

Tourism activity, sport and experience of the year, Go Ape Moors Valley; Tree Top Adventure, Ringwood; Lyme Bay Rib Charter; Brownsea Island, Poole

Sustainable tourism award: Bagwell Farm Touring Park, Weymouth; Fernhill Hotel, Bridport; South Lytchett Manor Caravan and Camping Park, Lytchett Minster

Large hotel of the year award: Christchurch Harbour Hotel and Spa, RNLI College, Poole

Large visitor attraction of the year: Farmer Palmers Farm Park, Organford; Kingston Lacy; Moors Valley Country Park and Forest

Tourism pub of the year: The Acorn Inn, Evershot; The Thimble Inn, Piddlehinton; The White Post, Rimpton.

Self catering establishment of the year: Caalm Leisure Centre, Shaftesbury; Glampotel, Bere Regis; Lancombe Country Cottages and Lodges, Dorchester; Symondsbury Estate, Symondsbury

Restaurant of the year: Arbor Restaurant at the Green House Hotel, Bournemouth; The Dorset Burger Company, Weymouth; The Eastbury, Sherborne

Winners of the unsung hero award for customer service, the award for outstanding contribution to Dorset tourism and the winner of winners will all be announced on the night.