The Dorset Tourism Awards has extended its entry deadline until May 31.

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

The awards, now in their eighth year, offer 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.

A spokesman said: "Coronavirus and its impact on people’s lives and livelihoods is impacting on us all, with guidance and government instructions changing by the hour.

"Our recommendations are to follow government advice closely, as well as follow guidance from your DMO, trade body and VisitBritain.  The top priority for everyone must clearly be people’s lives – your own, your family’s, your staff, visitors and community – and we don’t want to distract anyone from this.  Business owners and leaders will also be working flat out to secure the future of their businesses and staff.

"We don’t want to deflect anyone from these top priorities.  The tourism awards will remain open ‘in background’ – and for any staff working at home keen to be focusing on the future we will continue to welcome entries. We have already extended the entry deadline by a month to 31 May, and may extend again as necessary to reflect the changing situation. We are also working with partners and colleagues to plan contingencies for judging, events, feedback etc.

"One things that’s already clear is that numerous individuals and businesses are showing great leadership and innovation.  Huge congratulations and thanks to them all.  It may well be that this year sees even greater recognition of this.

"Our own team – all working from home – will continue to be available to talk with tourism contacts and help as best we can from afar, making maximum use of video and phone technology. Please use to get in touch.

"Keep safe and good luck."

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, cafés 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.

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

Full details of the awards are at