New Destination Awards for tourism excellence

DESTINATION AWARDS: At the launch of the Destination Awards at the Marsham Court Hotel in Bournemouth are, from left, David Squire, Managing Director of Yellow Buses; Rosie Radwell, Managing Director of the Marsham Court Hotel; James Dixon-Box of dbox events; David Bailey, Chair of the Destination Management Board; Robin Barker of Dorset Tourism Awards; Jon Weaver of the Destination Management Board and Craig Mathie, Vice Chair of the Destination Management Board

Official new awards have been launched to celebrate excellence in businesses that make Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch a great place to visit, live and work.

The Destination Awards are a completely new showcase for the great work being done in our part of the south coast to attract more tourism and increase facilities for residents.

The accolades have been set up by the new Destination Management Board, which looks after tourism for the new Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch (BCP) Council and replaced the former Bournemouth and Poole Tourism Board on April 1 this year.

James Dixon-Box, owner of dbox events, won a competitive tender to organise and deliver the awards, which will culminate in a grand ceremony at the BIC next spring.

Bournemouth’s Marsham Court Hotel hosted the launch event where the award categories were announced.

David Bailey, Chair of the Destination Management Board, told guests at the launch: “These are new awards, very different to anything that has gone before.

“We want to celebrate excellence across the BCP area and we want to make people realise that this area is not only a great place to visit but also to live and work.

“The most exciting thing about the awards is that even if you don’t win you will still be a winner because the amount of feedback and information that every entry will receive will be invaluable in driving the business forward.”

The 14 award categories are:

  • Events & Cultural Award
  • Attraction of the Year
  • Large Hotel of the Year
  • Small or Boutique Hotel of the Year
  • Unserviced Accommodation of the Year
  • Café or Tearoom of the Year
  • Restaurant or Bistro of the Year
  • Retail Innovation Award
  • Getting About Award
  • Business Tourism Award
  • Responsible, Ethical & Sustainable Tourism Award
  • International or Inbound Tourism Award
  • Digital Transformation Award
  • Industry Support Award

David Squire, Managing Director of headline sponsor Yellow Buses, now wholly locally owned after a management buyout, said: “We wanted to get involved because these awards are all about the community we serve – it is a perfect partnership.

“We have signed up for three years because we want to fully support local businesses who are delivering tourism week in week out in the Bournemouth Christchurch and Poole area.”

Also speaking at the launch event were Rosie Radwell, of hosts the Marsham Court Hotel, Craig Mathie, Vice Chair of the Destination Management Board, and Robin Barker, who organises the Dorset Tourism Awards, which is working in partnership with the Destination Awards.

Organiser James Dixon-Box said: “We are thrilled to be entrusted with these prestigious awards which truly recognise the best of the best and are unlike any this area of the south coast has seen before.

“We are now looking forward to working with Yellow Buses, along with sponsors Expectations Travel and the Marsham Court Hotel, to shine a spotlight on the fantastic work being done to make this a premier tourism destination.”

An experienced independent adjudicator from outside the area – Kurt Janson of the Tourism Alliance – has been appointed to oversee the judging process.

Entries are now open until September 8 and, following the comprehensive judging process – including ‘mystery shoppers’, the awards will be presented at a glittering ceremony at the BIC in March 2020 from five finalists in each category.

For information on how to enter visit: www.destinationawards.co.uk.

Some category sponsorship packages are still available.