Visit Dorset Business Support Hub Tourism research for Dorset & SW England

Market research is important to help shape the work of both Visit Dorset and its partners. Visit Dorset invests in research projects each year that cover a whole range of subjects related to tourism within Dorset and the South West. These reports provide figures on economic impact, visitor profiles, occupancy levels and general issues affecting tourism.

Visit Dorset and Poole and Bournemouth Tourism commission annual Dorset tourism research to provide insights on the value of tourism in Dorset, these Dorset tourism statistics are segmented into areas and in some cases towns.

COVID-19 impact on Dorset tourism businesses

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Visit Dorset will be working with BCP Council and the Great South West Tourism Partnership to carry out business impact surveys for tourism businesses in Dorset.

View the results of the surveys:

January 2022 

July - December 2021

January - June 2021

August - December 2020 

April 2020

COVID-19 destination research - Visitor intentions and experience

This visitor intentions survey ran across the South West of England (Dorset, Devon and Cornwall) during July and two week of August 2020, the aim is to gain insight into how people found their experience when visiting the area during the COVID-19 pandemic. The survey also captures what their intentions are for planning holiday breaks and day trips over the coming year. There were 1856 survey participants for Dorset.

South West England Visitor Intentions Survey - September 2020

Visitor Intentions Survey Dorset results and full data

South West England Visitor Intentions Survey - August 2020

Visitor Intentions Survey Dorset results and full data

South West England Visitor Intentions Survey - July 2020

Visitor Intentions Survey Dorset results and full data

Coastal Tourism - National Business Survey 

Impact of Covid-19 on Tourism Businesses - 2021 Business Barometer

Tourism in Dorset

Economic Contribution of the Visitor Economy in Dorset (2016) - South West Research Company Ltd

An overview of the importance and economic contribution of the visitor economy in Dorset.

Economic Impact / Value of Tourism

These reports prepared by the South West Research Company examine the volume and value of tourism and the impact of visitor expenditure on the local economy in Dorset including breakdown information for districts, please see summary below for additional towns.

How Tourism Benefits The Dorset Economy Infographic

2020 - The Economic Impact of Dorset's Visitor Economy (including impacts of Covid-19) 

2019 - The Economic Impact of Dorset's Visitor Economy

2018 - The Economic Impact of Dorset's Visitor Economy

2017 - The Economic Impact of Dorset's Visitor Economy

2016 - The Economic Impact of Dorset's Visitor Economy

2015 - The Economic Impact of Dorset's Visitor Economy

2014 - The Economic Impact of Dorset's Visitor Economy


Tourism summary for towns Year Year Year Year
Blandford   2017    
Bridport & West Bay   2017 2015 2013
Dorchester   2017 2015 2013
Lyme Regis   2017 2015 2013
Portland     2017 2015  
Shaftesbury   2017    
Sherborne    2017 2015 2013
Swanage    2019 2017 2015 2013
Weymouth   2019 2017 2015 2013








Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch information can also be found within the Economic Impact of Dorset's Visitor Economy reports above.

Visitor Surveys

Visit England have produced a series of destination reports (including Bournemouth) for the domestic market as part of the Discover England Funded projects. This report provides information about visitor profiles, visitor experience, and perceptions of the destination.

Destination Marketing Website Survey Results 2019 - Visit Dorset Accommodation Online Booking Survey Results 2018 - Visit Dorset

Market Characteristics of Dorset Holiday Visitors 2018 - Dorset Tourism Association

West Dorset Regional Requests For Tourism Guide Postcode Analysis 2016

For more research and studies see national research

We need your help!

To help us receive up-to-date feedback on how the tourism industry in the South West is performing, monthly Surveys are carried out by The South West Research Company to provide the regions tourism industry with up to date information on tourism performance.

If you run any of the following types of business in the Dorset tourism sector, we would be grateful if you would regularly participate in these How's Business surveys.

  • Accommodation establishment
  • Visitor or leisure attraction
  • Sports or activities-based business
  • Food and drinks related business
  • Retail business (excluding food and drinks)
  • Tourist Information Centre
  • Self Catering agency
  • Other type of business

Your answers will be treated as strictly confidential and will be combined with those from other businesses in your area to provide overall results. As a thank you for taking part in this survey, upon completion you will re-directed to a page where you will have access to the latest 'How's Business?' report for the previous month. Please contact us if you would like to get involved.


National tourism research

Tourism news

Round up of latest news from Visit Dorset about tourism matters.