IT’S the day tourism attractions and hospitality businesses have been waiting for as ‘Super Saturday’ sees them start to reopen.

Tourism alone is worth £1billion to Dorset’s economy and employs 40,000 people.

Richard Smith, chair of Dorset Tourism Association and a board member at Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “It’s great that tourism can now re-open in Dorset. We live in a fantastic place with so much to take advantage of, especially after this period of lockdown. The easing of restrictions will help our businesses get back on their feet and get people back in their jobs, which will be welcome news to many.

“Opening up Dorset’s tourism industry safely will take time and Dorset Tourism Association members are working closely with partners and businesses to ensure that tourism and hospitality organisations do it right – this will likely mean a phased re-opening for some and visitors should check what is open before travelling.”

Dorset’s 243-year-old brewery Hall & Woodhouse will begin a phased reopening of its managed pubs from Tuesday, July 7, for bookings and table service only.

Chairman Anthony Woodhouse said: “Over the coming weeks we’ll be phasing the re-opening of our establishments to make sure we can provide safe dining experiences for Dorset’s local communities – this includes operating a two metre rule to help our patrons feel comfortable. By taking a phased approach we will also be in a stronger position to support our team.

“One of the biggest issues now facing Dorset’s economy is unemployment, particularly for young people. Hospitality can offer great employment and social mobility opportunities and relieve some burden as a result of the lack of opportunities in other sectors.”

Sarah James, chief executive of the Arts Development Company – which delivers arts events in Dorset – said: “A number of museums and galleries across Dorset will begin to re-open some of their facilities to local residents and visitors over July and August. These include: Shaftesbury Abbey Museum and Gardens, Nothe Fort, Shire Hall, the Etches Collection, Walford Mill Crafts, Russell Cotes Art Gallery and Museum and the Tank Museum. All of these venues are looking forward to welcoming families and their communities back.

“As yet, there has been no indication from the government about when theatres and performing arts spaces can re-open their auditoriums to audiences, although most of our venues in Dorset continue to present performances and creative workshops online.”

Sally King, visitor tourism and access manager for Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and the Jurassic Coast Trust, said: “Dorset AONB covers 40 per cent of the county and is a nationally important, protected landscape and the Jurassic Coast, where the land meets the sea, is England’s only natural World Heritage Site; a 95-mile stretch of globally important geology and stunning unspoilt coastal scenery.

“Visitors are vital to the economy of Dorset and reopening the county to tourism will help sustain local jobs for local people and keep local businesses going. We want everyone to enjoy Dorset’s abundance of fresh air and wide-open spaces, and ask visitors to be considerate towards local residents and respect the natural environment.”