The 2021/22 South West Tourism Excellence Awards are now open and businesses from across the region are invited to submit their entries.
The Awards, cover all of the South West, with county schemes for Bristol, Bath and Somerset, Dorset, Devon and Cornwall, offering businesses the chance to win locally, regionally and – for matching categories – in the national VisitEngland awards.
The launch comes fresh from the conclusion of the 2020/21 awards, held in what was an extraordinary year for tourism, hospitality and the world. The awards had to change their format several times, with widespread praise from entrants including such comments as: “Thank you, to you all and to everyone else involved in the awards, for such wonderful news and recognition.” Other entrants listed the benefits of entering as increasing bookings, generating PR, boosting staff morale, as well as the free feedback on how their business could be improved. Find out more about the benefits here.
The 2021/22 awards categories cover the full range of tourism-related businesses including pubs, cafes and restaurants as well as accommodation, wedding and business venues, attractions, events and experiences. There is a new award for ‘Resilience and Innovation’, as well as opportunities to submit entries for unsung heroes, new businesses, dog friendly, accessibility and sustainability.
Businesses in Bristol, Bath and Somerset, Dorset, Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly must enter in their county schemes, whilst those in Wiltshire and Gloucestershire should enter direct into the South West awards unless based in South Gloucestershire or an active member of VisitWest, in which case please choose the Bristol, Bath and Somerset awards.
Awards organiser Robin Barker says: “The last year has highlighted the need for tourism to adapt and innovate, and the same applies to the Awards. This year sees new categories, new criteria and an extended entry period giving businesses the chance to enter early ‘before the rush’ or to leave it till they have welcomed more visitors if they prefer. We so look forward to engaging with everyone once again.”
The awards are free to enter as they are supported by many sponsors and partners. Jo Ecroyd, Customer Service Director of headline sponsors South West Water said: “We’re thrilled to continue our headline sponsorship of the South West Tourism Awards for another year. As a top FTSE business in the South West, we see it as our responsibility to promote and contribute to the regional economy, in which tourism plays such an important role. We are looking forward to a bumper season for our region this year as we finally emerge from the constraints that the pandemic has imposed upon us all.”
Rob Scarrott, Head of Water Resources and Planning at South West Water, said: “The economy and wellbeing of our region is reliant on the environment we live in. That’s why we’re keen to continue our work with the tourism sector to enhance and protect our natural environment and to ensure that the South West is a sustainable and beautiful place to live and visit for many years to come.”
A series of free online workshops is planned to help entrants, the first being on 25 May. All entries must be submitted online by 31 August but with hopefully a very busy summer ahead it is recommended that businesses start as soon as possible.