For a long time Westpac Banking Corp (ASX: WBC) and the rest of the big four banks were the first port of call for many investors in search of dividends. But with speculation that the banks will be forced to cut their dividends in the near future hanging over them, many investors are reluctant to invest in the big four.

Whilst I believe the banks will avoid dividend cuts in the near term, some investors are not so easily convinced. For these investors I would recommend these three great dividend shares as alternatives to the banks.

Each has a long history of growing their dividends and I expect the trend will continue for the foreseeable future. Here they are:

Flight Centre Travel Group Ltd (ASX: FLT)

Over the last 10 years the travel agent giant has grown its dividend by an average of 9.7% per annum. With the strong tailwinds of the tourism boom in its sails, I believe Flight Centre will bounce back stronger from a mixed 2016 and be in a position for growth once again. Following a reasonably steep drop in its share price this year Flight Centre’s shares are expected to provide a fully franked 4.2% dividend in FY 2017 according to CommSec. This makes it an opportune time to invest in my opinion.

Retail Food Group Limited (ASX: RFG)

The master franchisor of a range of popular brands including Gloria Jean’s and Donut King is one of the best dividend shares on the ASX in my eyes. With 10 consecutive years of dividend increases behind it, Retail Food Group’s shares are expected to provide a fully franked 4.1% dividend in FY 2017. As far as I’m concerned this is a company which represents a great buy and hold investment today.

WAM Capital Limited (ASX: WAM)

In the last five years this leading fund manager has increased its dividend by an average of 8% per annum. Considering WAM Capital recently posted a record full year net profit after tax of $98 million, I would not be at all surprised to see this trend continue next year. If it does then investors can look forward to a fully franked 6.8% dividend in FY 2017.

Alternatively, these fast-growing shares each pay fully franked dividends as well and could be just as good investments.

Discover the 'new breed' of blue chips that could take your portfolio higher in 2016

Forget BHP and Woolworths. These 3 "new breed" top blue chips for 2016 pay fully franked dividends and offer the very real prospect of significant capital appreciation. Click here to learn more.

The report is free! No credit card required.

HOT OFF THE PRESSES: Motley Fool’s #1 Dividend Pick for 2017!

With its shares up 155% in just the last five years, this ‘under the radar’ consumer favourite is both a hot growth stock AND our expert’s #1 dividend pick for 2017. Now we’re pulling back the curtain for you... And all you have to do to discover the name, code and a full analysis is enter your email below!

Simply enter your email now to receive your copy of our brand-new FREE report, “The Motley Fool’s Top Dividend Stock for 2017.”

By clicking this button, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. We will use your email address only to keep you informed about updates to our website and about other products and services we think might interest you. You can unsubscribe from Take Stock at anytime. Please refer to our https://www.fool.com.au/financial-services-guide">Financial Services Guide (FSG) for more information.

Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of Retail Food Group Limited. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.