FINALISTS ANNOUNCED FOR SOUTH WEST TOURISM EXCELLENCE AWARDS 2013-14, in association with Source for Business
After assessing nearly 350 entries, a record 213 visits and 20 hours of panel meetings, an expanded list of 63 Finalists and 34 Highly Commended entries have been announced in this year’s South West Tourism Excellence Awards. 59 of the Finalists will also go on to carry the South West’s flag in the national VisitEngland awards in May.
The South West Tourism Excellence Awards are the ‘official’ tourism awards for the region, offering entry to businesses in Somerset, Bath, Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, Bristol and the Isles of Scilly as well as linking closely with the awards in Cornwall and Devon and the new awards scheme in Dorset. They also form the regional heat of the national VisitEngland awards, to which eligible winners will now progress.
Nearly 350 entries were considered for the Awards, with all entrants undergoing a rigorous short-listing process with 213 visits by a team of 35 judges and mystery shoppers. Entry was free, and 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 Pippa Griffith, Curator of Tiverton Museum of Mid-Devon Life: “The rewards have been fantastic. Winning two prestigious awards has really helped us to raise our profile.”
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 four finalists have been announced in each category, but all will have to wait until 30th January to learn whether they have won Gold, Silver or Bronze at the prestigious Awards Ceremony, to be hosted for the first time at the Holiday Inn in Plymouth.
This year’s judging was the tightest ever, with winners separated by fractions in their mystery shop scores and requiring lengthy debates amongst the Judging Panels, which met for a total of over 20 hours.
Chair of the South West Awards Panel, Alistair Handyside, said: “This year sees a truly excellent collection of winners across the South West, with many new entrants as well as well known established beacon businesses. The Awards night at the Holiday Inn in Plymouth on the 30th January promises to be a spectacular showcase of all that is best in the South West.”
Monica Read, Director of headline sponsor Source for Business, said: “The South West tourism industry should be rightly proud of the high standards in customer service, quality standards and overall visitor experience as exhibited by all the nominated businesses. Let’s hope the sun continues to shine in 2014 for our wonderful region.”
Robin Barker, Director of Services for Tourism Ltd, who coordinate the Awards, added: “Each year sees more businesses entering, more benefits to entrants and sponsors, and tougher judging decisions. This year is no exception and I wish all entrants well and offer both congratulations and good luck to our finalists as they progress to the regional event and national finals.”
The Awards hashtag is #SWTAwards
Clich HERE to see the full list of Finalists and Highly Commendeds.
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