The Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site houses landforms such as Lulworth Cove, the Isle of Portland, Chesil Beach and Durdle Door, as well as the holiday destinations of Bournemouth, Poole, Weymouth, Swanage, and Lyme Regis.
Tourism is the predominant industry within Dorset, with the county receiving roughly 18 million visitors a year. This has replaced agriculture as Dorset's primary industry. The county contains 190 Conservation Areas, more than 1,500 Scheduled Ancient Monuments, over 30 registered parks and gardens and 12,850 listed buildings, a number of which-over 6,000-are in the west of the county.
International trade and tourism is facilitated in Dorset by its three large ports at Poole, Weymouth and Portland and by its international airport at Hum. Towards the end of the 18th century, tourism has shown a significant increase in Dorset. It is estimated that 37,500 people work in Dorset's tourism sector and the region has a small manufacturing industry, at 10.3% of employment in 2008. Around fifty percent of Dorset's residents live in the South East Dorset conurbation. Other areas of Dorset are mostly rural and have low population densities, much like Devon.
Dorset has one of the highest proportions of conservation areas in England, including two Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty which together cover 53% of the county. There is also a World Heritage Site (114 km/71 mi), two Heritage Coasts (92 km/57 mi) and Sites of Special Scientific interest (199.45 km2/49,285 acres).Running along the Dorset coastline from Devon to South Haven Point is a National Trail called the South Haven Point.
Over 30 general and specialist museums are located in Dorset. The Dorset County Museum in Dorchester was founded in 1846 and houses an extensive collection of exhibits covering the county's history and environment.
Other places of interest include The Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, one of Dorset's most noted cultural institutions that was founded in 1893. The orchestra performs over 130 concerts across southern England each year and is based in Poole.
The Great Dorset Steam Fair near Blandford is one of the largest events of its kind in Europe. It is an example of the many annual fairs, festivals and events held in Dorset including The Dorset County Show, which was first held in 1841 and is a celebration of Dorset's relationship with agriculture.
Dorset also holds several larger musical events such as Camp Bestival, Endorse It In Dorset, End of the Road and the Larmer Tree Festival.
Dorset is also famous as the birthplace and principal setting of the novels of Thomas Hardy, who was born in the county, and William Barnes, whose poetry celebrates and preserves the ancient Dorset dialect.
Dorset is one of the few counties in England not to have a single motorway. The A31, A35 and A303 carry most of Dorset's traffic.