THE arrival of fine weather gives Dorset a golden opportunity to sell itself to visitors this Easter so they keep coming back.

That is the message from Dorset Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which says the county needs to send an upbeat message that it is open for business.

Chief executive Ian Girling urged tourism and retail businesses to seize the possibility of an Easter ‘bounce’ as the sunny weather followed months of rain.

He said: “This is another opportunity to really start driving the local economy forward after the heavy rains and floods which affected some businesses so badly earlier this year. We have benefited from fine weather so far during the Easter break and this should draw even more visitors, including day trippers and last-minute bookings.

“Dorset is one of the premier destinations in the country. We need to be ready, and give the very best impression of Dorset so visitors will enjoy their time here, spend more and come back again.”

The hopes for an Easter bounce came as key indicators showed the economy continuing to improve. The British Chambers of Commerce has also reported that export orders and sales for Britain’s service companies have reached a record high.

Dorset has benefited from the opening of seasonal attractions, while Bournemouth saw the arrival of the Coastal Activity Park at Boscombe last week.

Latest figures from Visit Dorset estimate that the total visitor spend from staying UK and overseas visitors is £807m a year.

Its visitor surveys show a total of 26 million day visits with a total visitor spend of £843m. It says tourism is directly responsible for some 32,565 jobs.