In this Olympic year, tourism businesses across the county are being urged to go for gold by entering the Dorset Tourism Award in the Daily Echo-backed Dorset Business Awards, and join Monkey World Ape Rescue Centre on the winners list.

Added to the competition last year, the Dorset Tourism Award category, sponsored by Dorset Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Liz Lean PR, shines the spotlight on what makes the county such a popular place to visit and celebrates the industry’s enthusiasm for excellence.

The category is open to all tourism related businesses across the county including hotels, guesthouses, parks, leisure complexes, museums, galleries, events, outdoor activity groups and any other facility that attracts tourists to the area. Wareham-based Monkey World Ape Rescue Centre was crowned winner in the inaugural year of this category.

With more than 240 primates, Monkey World is the largest primate rescue centre in the world and attracts thousands of visitors to Dorset each year. Open 364 days-a-year, the centre gives visitors access to seeing first-hand and understanding some of the world’s most endangered and persecuted species of primates.

Talking about entering and winning Shelley Fletcher, operations manager at Monkey World Ape Rescue Centre, says: “As we were heading into our 25 anniversary year we thought it was an ideal time to enter the Dorset Business Awards. Winning the Dorset Tourism Award heralded the start of an amazing year for us and to be acknowledged in the region was a huge boost to all the staff at the centre.”

Dorset Tourism Award checklist
Entrants should include:
• Key objectives, including any details of strategic planning for 2012 through to 2014
• How customer feedback is obtained, responded to and how performance has improved and customer satisfaction has increased as a result
• How the business is promoted and marketed to attract visitors
• Evidence of initiatives that have been introduced to enhance visitor experience
• Commitment to staff training and development

Liz Willingham, managing director of Liz Lean PR, says: “This Award recognises those businesses and individuals who are working hard to raise the standards in the Dorset tourism sector. The category is open to any Dorset-based business which is accessible on a seasonal or year-round basis, and can demonstrate that excellence in service, customer care, hospitality and marketing are regarded as core business objectives.”

Peter Scott, chief executive of the Dorset Chamber of Commerce and Industry, adds: “Dorset’s tourism sector is vital to our region’s economy and this award celebrates the outstanding contribution of local tourism related businesses in attracting visitors to the area and delivering excellence in customer service that enhances the profile of the county.”

The Awards are free to enter and entrants can submit an entry via or print off an entry form and submit a paper-based entry. The closing date for entry is Friday September 14.

The Awards are also backed by the south’s leading radio station Wave 105 and supported by the Dorset Echo. For further information about the Awards or to purchase tickets for the Gala Dinner on November 29 please contact Shirley Ewart on 01202 714812.