Holidays in Dorset were hit by Covid-19 restrictions last year, but nevertheless the 2020 Dorset Tourism Awards have taken place.
Entrants were judged on a combination of their entry submissions, digital presence, reviews and external evidence, with an online awards ceremony taking place over five sessions online on 4 February.
Amongst the top winners was Bournemouth’s Marsham Court Hotel, collecting three Gold awards for Hotel of the Year, Business Events and Wedding Venue of the Year, Dog Friendly Business of the Year and the prestigious Winner of Winners award. Other top winners included The Tank Museum and Nothe Fort in the attraction categories, Dorset House, South Lytchett Manor Camping and Caravanning Park, Burnbake Forest Lodges & Campsite and Farmstead Glamping in accommodation categories and Bridport Tourist Information Centre.
Jurassic Coast Guides took two gold awards for Experience of the Year and International Visitor Experience, with HolidayInDorset – Birchcroft taking gold for Accessible and Inclusive Tourism and Pause Cat Café the hotly-fought gold for Ethical, Responsible and Sustainable Tourism. Another multiple-winner was Sculpture by the Lakes, taking a bronze and three silver awards. Food and drink golds went to Fish ‘n’ Fritz in Weymouth, The Half Moon in Melplash, Bournemouth’s Picnic Park Deli and Al Molo in Weymouth. There was a special New Business Award for the Cross Keys in Sherborne and the Tourism Innovation gold went to The Grange at Oborne, with the Tourism Event/Festival of the Year gold awarded to White Star Running – Run Jurassic 2019.
In what has been an extraordinary year for tourism three special Unsung Hero awards were announced for Heather Brown of Dorset Foodie Feed, Kellie Court of Tangerine Café & Gallery, and Yessica Falcon of Bournemouth Tourist Information Centre.
Awards organiser Robin Barker said, “It would have been very easy to cancel the Awards this year – we did think long and hard about it, but the level of early entries we received in spite of everything, and the creativity and determination shown by entrants inspired us to find a way to make this happen – and your responses and feedback ever since have completely blown us away.”
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