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Finalists Announced For South West Tourism Excellence Awards 2014-15 - in association with Source for Business

After assessing a record 425 entries, 275 visits and 20 hours of panel meetings, 94 Finalists and 11 Highly Commended entries have been announced in this year’s South West Tourism Excellence Awards.  90 of the Finalists will also represent ‘Team South West’ in the national VisitEngland awards in May.

This year’s awards attracted a entries from as far afield as the Isles of Scilly in the west to Salisbury in the east and Cirencester in the north.  Successful entries from the Cornwall, Devon and Dorset Tourism Awards were all considered, alongside direct entries from Wiltshire, Somerset, Bath, Bristol and Gloucestershire.

The awards are the official tourism awards for the region and form the regional heat of the national VisitEngland awards, to which eligible winners will now progress.

Entrants underwent a rigorous short-listing process with visits carried out by a team of 35 judges and mystery shoppers. All entrants will receive feedback on how they’ve done, giving them the best opportunity both to hone their entry in future years and make improvements to their business.

Alongside numerous first-time entrants, this year’s list of winners includes many former entrants whose past feedback has helped them develop and enhance their business.  As quoted by Pat Smith, from Bosinver in Cornwall: “The rewards from winning an award are multi-fold – firstly it is a great boost to our staff who work so hard to make Bosinver what it is. Secondly it validates our efforts in continually striving to improve our offer. Lastly it is wonderful to be recognised by the industry as one of the leading self catering providers.”

Sponsor support meant entry into the Awards was free, with 16 categories to choose from ranging from pubs, restaurants, hotels, events, attractions, activities, holiday parks and self catering holidays to awards for customer service, access, sustainable tourism and business tourism. Up to six finalists have been announced in each category, but all will have to wait until 12th February to learn whether they have won Gold, Silver or Bronze at the prestigious Awards Ceremony, to be hosted for the first time on the Grand Pier in Weston-super-Mare.

Chair of the South West Awards Panel, Alistair Handyside, said: This year’s South West award winners represent the very best of the region in all its glory, and we wish them all the very best at the Grand Pier in Weston-super-Mare on 12th February.”

John Crouch, Marketing Manager of headline sponsor Source for Business, said: “The finalists have all demonstrated their ability to match the stunning product that is the South West with their take on hospitality. Every year the bar is raised and all finalists should be congratulated for getting to this stage and for their hard work.”

Robin Barker, Director of Services for Tourism Ltd, who manage the Awards, added: “When I was first involved in tourism awards the difference between the top performers was often 10 to 15%.  This year it was usually less than 1%.  While this makes the judges’ task all the harder, I’m delighted to see this great industry continuing to innovate and excel.”

The full list of Finalists and Highly Commended entrants can be found HERE

The Awards hashtag is #SWTAwards