In what has been an extraordinarily hard time for hospitality, Swanage’s tourism related businesses along with those across the county, are invited to enter the Dorset Tourism Awards for 2021/22.
As the Prime Minister announced a further easing of Covid restrictions for the tourism sector, the event organisers are introducing a new award for ‘Resilience and Innovation’, to recognise just how much the industry has had to adapt throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
The new award sits alongside the traditional categories for pubs, cafes and restaurants as well as accommodation, wedding and business venues, attractions, events and experiences.
There are also opportunities to submit entries for unsung heroes, new businesses, dog friendly, accessibility and sustainability.
Swaanage Coastal Park was a finalist in 2020
Two free online workshops
For those who haven’t entered before there are two free online workshops to find out more details, the first on Tuesday 25th May 2021.
The awards, that are in their ninth year, offer businesses the chance to win locally and also the possibility to progress on to the regional South West awards and – for matching categories – the national Visit England awards.
Durlston Country Park in Swanage did exactly that by first entering the Dorset Tourism Awards in 2019 and then went on to win gold in the accessibility category in the national awards held virtually in August 2020.
Durlston Country Park went on to win gold in the national tourism awards
Dorset Tourism Award finalists in 2020
Dorset Tourism Award finalists in 2020 included Swanage Coastal Park, Peppina restaurant in Swanage, Fore/Adventure in Studland, Burnbake Forest Lodges and Campsite at Corfe Castle and the Tank Museum in Bovington.
The awards are free to enter and are promoted as a way for businesses to increase bookings, generate PR, boost staff morale, as well as getting free feedback on how their business could be improved.
All entrants will be visited by a mystery shopper, who will write a report and give business feedback.
The Swanage restaurant, Peppina in Institute Road was a finalist in 2020
“Need for tourism to adapt and innovate”
Awards organiser Robin Barker said:
“The last year has highlighted the need for tourism to adapt and innovate, and the same applies to the awards.
“This year sees new categories, new criteria and an extended entry period giving businesses the chance to enter early ‘before the rush’ or to leave it till they have welcomed more visitors if they prefer. We so look forward to engaging with everyone once again.”
Another local finalist in 2020 was the outdoor adventure company, Fore/Adventure based in Studland
The ‘happiness’ industry
The awards are supported by many sponsors and partners.
Deborah Heather, director of the main sponsor Quality in Tourism, said:
“From the initial ‘meet the finalists’ event, the team at Quality in Tourism were completely wowed by the Dorset tourism industry in the 2020 Tourism Awards; the resilience, creativity and innovation was incredible; truly delivering in the ‘happiness’ industry.
“We were inspired to become the headline sponsor for the 2021 awards and we literally can’t wait to see what these amazing operators do next”.
All entries must be submitted online by Monday 31st August 2021.
Full details of the awards and how to attend an information workshop are on the Dorset Tourism Awards website