Dorset authorities set to create tourism website

Lower tier councils in Dorset are funding the creation of a new website to boost tourist visits to the county.

The county’s five lower tier authorities have launched a tender for a supplier to create a website and backend “destination management system”, plus support and hosting facilities.

The move comes after a 2014 destination management plan found that the county was lagging behind its rivals in the South West in attracting domestic and tourist visitors.

That report said: “In terms of the proportion of overseas visitors that it sees, Dorset is some way behind the best performing counties in the South West.

“Somerset leads the way, with 18% of its staying visitors coming from overseas whilst Wiltshire sees 15% of its staying market coming from overseas.”

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However, it found that Dorset was on a par with Gloucestershire, with 12% of its staying visitors from overseas and ahead of Cornwall and Devon (7% each).

The report also found that Dorset has the lowest proportion of day visits of any of the South West counties at 76% of all visits, compared to 91% in top-performing Wiltshire.

Dorset hosts just short of 15 million tourist visits annually, with 42,000 full and part time jobs relating to the sector in the county.

The value of the proposed contract to create the new website is estimated at between £280,000 and £350,000.

The initial term will be for a period of three years from the award of the contract with an option to extend at for a further period of up to two years.

The Dorset local authority tourism partners involved in the procurement are Christchurch Borough Council, East Dorset District Council, Purbeck District Council, West Dorset District Council and Weymouth and Portland Borough Council.

Colin Marrs

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