Visit Dorset activity to support the Dorset visitor economy during 2023.

Website Development:

  • Delivering a programme of ongoing development on our website.  Managing a schedule of content creation and contract management to ensure that best use is made of all the site functionality available to us. 

  • Management of microsites (mini town websites under the Visit Dorset umbrella) with Lyme Regis and Sherborne Town Councils and creation of a new microsite for Swanage Town Council ready to launch in January 2024. 

  • Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) development strategy in place providing in depth reports, structured guidance on content development and monthly health checks to ensure the site’s continued growth and success. 

  • Annual web visits of over 2.3 million (January to December 2023), an increase of 10% on the previous year.  Marketing plans in place to continue to raise the profile of Visit Dorset in 2024.     

  • Effective use of ‘Crowdriff’  - a software platform which sources Dorset imagery directly from social media - keeping our website site authentic and engaging.    

Business Support:

  • Reduced Visit Dorset membership fees by 15% to support businesses during a continued difficult period of recovery from the pandemic alongside the start of a time of economic crisis. 

  • Regular e-newsletters to Visit Dorset members and wider business groups across Dorset summarising training opportunities, business events, new legislation and business toolkits, awards schemes, Visit Dorset membership benefits, our marketing campaigns, survey participation and results.  

  • Dorset Business Twitter account @VisitDorsetBiz (2427 followers) Visit Dorset LinkedIn account (297 followers) promotion of training, marketing and business networking opportunities for Dorset tourism businesses. 

  • Promotion of training for tourism businesses including recruitment, business development, funding applications and digital skills. 

  • Promotion of Dorset’s late availability, special offers and additional feature advertising opportunities. 

  • Conducted regular business impact surveys as part of the Great South West (GSW) Tourism Partnership to enable Dorset businesses to voice their concerns about their business stability during difficult economic times and shared consumer insights information to help with forward planning. 

  • Online booking connectivity improvements include linking with TXGB to enable online booking connections with over 200 booking systems and distributors.  

  • Sponsored the ‘New Tourism Business’ category for the 2022/23 Dorset Tourism Awards and presented to successful businesses at the Awards Celebration Event. Assisted with promotion of the awards scheme throughout the year.

  • Promoted English Tourism Week, Small Business Saturday and other national initiatives.

  • Attended tourism forums, Chamber and BID (Business Improvement District) meetings to understand the difficulties facing sectors of the economy linked to tourism and feedback to government via the Great South West Tourism Partnership.

  • Successful networking event for 100 businesses held at the Shire Hall Museum in February 2023 highlighting the range of support available to tourism businesses and an update from the Visit Dorset team.

Marketing & Promotional Campaigns:

  • Joint campaign with Camp Bestival team to install 30 train card panels across the Southern and Southeastern railway networks to promote the festival and Dorset, together with a competition and joint e-newsletter promotions. 

  • Successful Facebook campaign ‘Put a Dorset Spring in Your Step’ during March, April and May. Designed graphics included Visit Dorset members Athelhampton House, Highcliffe Castle, Swanage Railway and Corfe Castle.   

  • Managed a continuous social media campaign using targeted paid adverts designed in-house alongside a Pay Per Click campaign to drive spring and summer bookings to rural Dorset. Ability to be reactive to external factors (eg cost of living, late booking trends) and produce adverts that were seasonal and topical. The campaigns were cost-effective with an average CPC of £0.30.  

  • Produced a summary guide to Visit Dorset campaigns throughout the year and invited businesses to work with us to support our activity via their own channels using our marketing assets.  

  • Produced a 50,000 print run of our Dorset Days Out fold out map leaflet with free promotion to 46 existing Visit Dorset attraction and activity businesses to encourage visits. 

  • December 2023: Instagram 39.5k followers (+23% on 2022); Facebook 41.5k fans (+8% and 3 million reach); X 18.4k followers (+1% on 2022) TikTok account launched in May 2023 in response to the heightened popularity of the platform and its effectiveness in reaching new audiences and brand authenticity. Increased creation and use of short video content on social platforms. 

  • 10 consumer e-newsletters with an average reach of 25,000 per newsletter and an open rate of 33%.

  • Supported the national Year Of The Coast campaign by creating a dedicated webpage and monthly promotion on social media to promote the coast and encourage visitors to book a break or day trip. 

  • Partnered with England’s Coast in a dedicated spring campaign with adverts across Facebook, Instagram and Google raising exposure and inspiring people to visit Dorset.  The campaign resulted in over 4 million impressions for Dorset adverts, 55,809 ad clicks with 24,497 to our landing page on England’s Coast’s website.  

  • Promotion of King Charles III’s Coronation in May and the additional Bank Holiday weekend. 

  • Formed a partnership with the new North Dorset Tourism Group to promote hidden gems of Rural/North Dorset including an interactive map of the White Hart Link Trail, new campaign pages on to promote businesses in the area and new video content for North Dorset, Shaftesbury and Blandford Forum.

  • Photography competition/campaign encouraging people to upload their favourite image from a visit to Dorset using our 'Crowdriff' platform. This enabled us to capture the essence of Dorset through the eyes of our visitors. Visit Dorset won the award for ‘Most innovative use of User Generated Content’ at the Simpleview European Summit held in Liverpool in September 2023 for this campaign. 

  • Appointed AllTold film company to create 4 promotional videos for Dorset. A series of thematic videos have been produced capturing the variety and uniqueness of Dorset in a modern, upbeat tone ready to launch in January 2024. 

  • 20 new blogs written by the Visit Dorset team as well as 9 guest blogs. 

Press and PR:

Supported press and media enquiries throughout the year including: 

  • Working with VisitBritain on a major international off peak promotion 'See Things Differently - Jurassic Coast Adventure'. VisitBritain selected 7 inspiring influencers from Brazil, Denmark, Canada, Norway, Italy, France and China with a collective channel reach of 6 million followers. The group stayed at The Nici Hotel and at Moonfleet Hotel and visited Bournemouth’s Oceanarium, the Upside Down House, took part in a Kayak, Forage & Feast experience with Fore Adventure. They also visited some of the most picturesque locations in Dorset such as Corfe Castle, Chesil Beach, Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove. Tours included off-road Land Rover safari tour and a guided walking tour along the Jurassic Coast with a ranger from the Lulworth Estate. To date the total reach of the content produced: 327 posts; 57k video views; 265k reel plays; 21k engagement; 367k impressions. 

  • Press trips and support offered for articles in The Telegraph, Daily Mail, National Geographic and BBC Springwatch,  

The team supported a range of national film and TV productions: 

  • BBC Two Springwatch team were hosted by the RSPB Arne Nature Reserve showing live television programmes for 3 weeks from late May. Durlston Country Park, Corfe Castle, Winspit, Studland Bay, Poole Harbour and Brownsea Island also featured. 

  • Great Coastal Railway Journeys – 2 episodes aired in June, presented by Michael Portillo and featured Abbotsbury Swannery, Lulworth Cove, Corfe Castle and Brownsea Island. 

  • Dorset Country and Coast Channel 5 series of 6 episodes narrated by Alan Titchmarsh, which started on 26 July. 

  • Britain by the Book -  ITV factual-entertainment tv programme on 6 September about Dorset and the literature that comes from the area presented by Mel Giedroyc and Martin Clunes. 

  • Bill Bailey Perfect Pub Walks series for More 4. 

  • Working with Film Dorset team to provide information for feature film productions.

  • Wonka – created a blog on the Lyme Regis microsite and associated social posts to promote Lyme Regis as a filming location for Wonka (released in the UK on 8 December 2023). 

Social Media Collaborations and Competitions:

Regular competitions set up with industry partners and promoted through digital channels with high success rates: 

  • January: photo competition to encourage visitors to upload their favourite photo from 2022. (1134 photos entered) .

  • March: Competition to win the use of a beach hut in Lyme Regis during Lifeboat Week. (3,496 entrants). 

  • April: Competition to win a Camp Bestival family weekend ticket. (2,394 entrants). 

  • May: Durdle Door Holiday park competition to promote an off peak holiday for September. (7,554 entrants). 

  • May: Competition to win a Hall and Woodhouse Blandford Brewery Tour for Father’s Day. (1,536 entrants). 

  • June: Camp Bestival family day ticket competition. (1,997 entrants). 

  • July: Monart Spa Day package for 2 competition. (2,241 entrants). 


  • The 2023 Visit Dorset Consumer Survey included a number of sustainability questions providing baseline data regarding how important being sustainable on holiday is to visitors, how they travel to and around Dorset when visiting and what they are prepared to do while visiting (e.g. recycle, use public transport etc). 



  • Attended meetings with destination leads from around the country and shared best practice, data, business support and national marketing campaigns to support the government agenda for England’s tourism industry. 

Great South West Tourism Partnership (GSWTP):

  • Fortnightly meetings throughout 2023 with tourism leads across the south west, the Head of Tourism for the Department of Media Culture and Sport (DCMS) and VisitEngland. The partnership is key to co-ordinating regional marketing campaigns, collaborative impact surveys and effective lobbying to government for industry support.   

  • Partners continued to work to their comprehensive plan ‘Towards 2030’ on key issues affecting the industry and used this to attract funding bids from government. 

Dorset Tourism Association:

  • Regular board meetings with sector representatives highlighting the impact of the pandemic and cost of living crisis on all sectors of Dorset’s tourism industry; feedback used to support businesses, lobby and feedback to the GSWTP. Four workshops held onkey topic areas affecting the industry: Accessibility, Sustainability, Marketing, Skills 

Other key partnerships:

  • Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch (BCP); working together on Dorset wide opportunities. 

  • England’s Coast partnership, supporting coastal destinations. Full membership taken to optimise joint marketing opportunities and support Year of The Coast 2023.  

  • Working with town councils and BIDs in Swanage, Wimborne, Dorchester, Weymouth, Lyme Regis and Sherborne and Councillors in North Dorset towns to aid recovery and build mutually beneficial partnerships  

  • Worked with the Dorset Museum Partnership on a joint package to enable museums in Dorset to feature on the Visit Dorset site whatever size or set up. 

  • Working with the Arts Development Company, Dorset Council’s appointed strategic development company for culture, to boost promotion of arts and culture through Visit Dorset’s marketing platforms. 

  • Collaboration with Condor Ferries using Visit Dorset video content onboard to promote the area to passengers. Partnered with Poole Port to support their cruise industry initiatives including a new cruise industry brochure about the benefits of the port. 

  • Simpleview Rural Focus Group – a handpicked group of destinations working together to share tips and ideas for best practice. 

​​Research and consultation:

  • Supported the funding of the south west Business Impact Surveys to measure the impact of the pandemic on the whole region, identify business priorities and use to inform and lobby government and assist with DCMS consultations. 

  • Assisted with data and funded the Dorset volume and value tourism research via The South West Research Company. Offered opportunity for individual town data reports across Dorset. 

  • A 2023 Visit Dorset Consumer Survey was conducted in March and April with 2,359 respondents. Key findings included: 97% of respondents satisfied with their break in Dorset, 90% thought their holiday was either excellent or good value for money, 67% are being cautious due to the cost of living crisis, 78% claimed that reducing their carbon footprint or making more sustainable choices on holiday was important and 59% would like more locally sourced food and drink on their holiday in Dorset. The main motivation for a visit to Dorset was for relaxation, quality time with friends or family, and to sightsee or explore. Looking forward, price is the top factor influencing bookings in 2023, closely followed by scenery and landscape. 

Service, Government and VisitEngland Reviews:

  • The Dorset Council Place and Resources Scrutiny Committee requested that a report was presented to their November committee meeting to give an overview of how Dorset Council is driving and supporting its visitor economy through the work undertaken by the Visit Dorset tourism team. The report provided information on the infrastructure in place to support the work and outlined the importance of tourism to Dorset’s economy as well as highlighting challenges facing the industry and opportunities for growth. The committee concluded that a member task group should be set up so that  further work could be undertaken to explore opportunities for a broader review of income generation through tourism assets across all council services. 

  • Following the government response to the DCMS Independent Review of Destination Management Organisations, BCP and Visit Dorset have been working towards an application to be submitted to VisitEngland early in 2024 to become a Local Visitor Economy Partnership (LVEP) for Dorset. A key part of the criteria for becoming an LVEP is to be able to demonstrate destination management by bringing together all elements of the local visitor economy to enable a strong public/private sector partnership. The two Dorset authorities would lead the LVEP activity but would work collaboratively with the Dorset Tourism Association and other private and public sector organisations within Dorset.