DORSET businesses are being invited to enter an awards scheme which celebrates excellence in the tourism industry.

The 2020/21 Dorset Tourism Awards have opened for entry and businesses are invited to start their submissions.

The awards, now in their 8th year, cover the whole of Dorset, offering business the chance to win not just in the county, but to progress on to the regional South West awards and – for matching categories – the national VisitEngland awards.

Last year’s entrants describe the benefits of entering the awards as increasing bookings, generating PR, helping with staff morale, retention and recruitment, as well as getting free feedback on how their business could be improved. Categories cover the full range of tourism-related businesses including pubs, cafes and restaurants as well as accommodation, attractions and events.

There are also generic categories for ‘unsung heroes’, innovation, new businesses, dog friendly, accessibility and sustainability.

Gold award winners last year included Wooden Cabbage near Dorchester (B&B and Guesthouse of the Year), Bagwell Farm Touring Park, Weymouth (Ethical, Responsible & Sustainable Tourism Award), Highlands End Holiday Park, Eype, (Holiday Park of the Year), West Bay Discovery Centre (New Tourism Business Award), Three Horseshoes Pub & Kitchen, Burton Bradstock (Pub of the Year), Shire Hall Historic Courthouse Museum (Small Visitor Attraction of the Year), and The Tank Museum's Tankfest (Tourism Event/Festival of the Year). The Winner of Winners was Bagwell Farm Touring Park.

Awards organiser Robin Barker said: “It’s always great to hear from entrants what a positive change the awards can bring. To help everyone submit their best entry we are running a series of workshops and I look forward to seeing many businesses there. Our top tip is to start preparing now, giving yourself time to consider all categories and liaising with colleagues before clicking the submit button.”

The awards are free to enter as they are supported by many sponsors.

Full details of the awards are at

All entries must be submitted online by April 26 but with Easter coming up it is recommended that businesses start as soon as possible.