(Bryan Adams - Key Account Manager presenting award to Brenden Howard)
We have always appreciated how vital tourism is to the local area, and how crucial affordable water and sewerage services are for the leisure & tourism industry, so we were delighted to be involved in the awards.
A capacity audience of 240 guests witnessed 61 trophies being presented to tourism businesses from across Dorset.
Now in its fourth year, the Awards broke all records in acting as a celebration of the best in Dorset tourism and also as a county heat for the South West and national Visit England awards. This year saw three new categories for International Visitor Experience, Dog Friendly and Glamping.
All parts of the county saw winners – from Christchurch and Bournemouth to Sherborne, Blandford Forum, Poole, Dorchester, Lyme Regis and Weymouth. Most had been through a rigorous three-stage judging process involving initial study of entry forms and online presence, a programme of visits – often mystery visits – and ending with decisions made by an independent panel.
Amongst the winners were two big surprises: an ‘Unsung Hero’ award, for Brenden Howard of Bournemouth’s Grove Hotel, nominated by one of the mystery shoppers, who commented: "Kind, considerate and goes out of his way to be helpful. He goes above and beyond his official duties."
The second surprise was an Outstanding Contribution to Tourism award for Bruce Grant-Braham, cited for his 20 plus years’ service to tourism in Poole, Bournemouth and the wider Dorset. Chair of the Judges Peter Jones said: "His commitment to raising the profile of tourism has known few bounds."
The Dorset Tourism Awards were launched in June 2013, following liaison between their founder, Robin Barker, and tourism leaders. Robin has been delighted with year-on-year progress since then, saying: "This year has record entries, more sponsors, a capacity event and a further raising in quality. The judges have had their toughest task yet – many congratulations to all of the winners."
Successful businesses in the Dorset Awards will now be fast tracked into the South West Tourism Excellence Awards in February 2017 and then possibly on to the National Visit England Awards later in 2017.
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