BUSINESSES across Dorset are being urged to enter this year’s Dorset Tourism Awards.

After a record year, in which the county’s tourism awards schemes attracted 651 entries, the 2019/20 awards have been launched and hospitality businesses are invited to enter.

Last year, numerous businesses across Bridport, Beaminster and Lyme Regis won gold, silver or bronze awards, such as Dorset House, Bearkat Bistro, Bridport Tourist Information Centre, Acorn Inn, The Alexandra Hotel and Restaurant, Highlands End holiday Park, Wood Farm Caravan Park and Dorset Forest Glamping.

Industry feedback has led to many changes, with more than 75 per cent of 2018 survey respondents saying that the awards helped improve the quality of their business and asking for an earlier launch date, shorter entry forms and more workshops.

This has led to the new launch date, a new online entry process with shorter forms and a brand-new website.

Feedback has also led to new categories, such as wedding venue of the year, alongside many changes to former categories.

Robin Barker, organiser of the awards, said: “The 2018/19 awards broke all records and, importantly, showed further progress in converting them into a year-round quality development programme, rather than merely ‘an event’.

“Like the businesses we serve, we must innovate and change too, hence the very many developments we are making this year and I would like to thank entrants, our 50 plus sponsors and judges for their active support.”

There is a special incentive for early entrants received by March 29, with a final deadline on April 30, and businesses are encouraged to start preparing and a programme of workshops will be announced shortly.

Entry is free - the programme is being funded by a range of sponsors and partners - and all entrants receive feedback.

For more details about the awards, visit