Tourism businesses from across Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, Bath, Bristol, Somerset, Dorset, Devon and Cornwall have been named as Finalists in this year’s South West Tourism Excellence Awards.
The news follows an awards process which started in April 2022, with 482 entries submitted, a rigorous judging process and many winning in their county schemes in Cornwall, Bristol, Bath and Somerset, Dorset and Devon. The top performers have now been named for the regional final to be held at Eden Project on 23 March.
The Awards, which themselves won a further national accolade in 2022, achieving the ‘Outstanding’ accolade in the Awards Trust Mark scheme, are the culmination of 11 months of evidence gathering, online entry, judging and county awards. They are recognised for their rigour and quality of judging with independent judges spending months poring over entry submissions, websites, social media and review sites, as well as carrying out business visits, many of them mystery visits. Reports and recommendations were then submitted to an independent panel who made the final decisions.
Businesses and sponsors are looking forward to a return to Eden Project, 10 years after the awards were last held there.
Up to four finalists have been announced in each category, but all will have to wait until 23rd March to learn whether they have won Gold, Silver or Bronze trophies. Many will also be nominated to represent the South West in the national VisitEngland awards later in the year.
Steve Hayfield, Customer Experience and Delivery Director at headline sponsor South West Water said: “We are proud to be continuing our relationship with the South West Tourism Awards, recognising that a thriving tourism industry is essential to the economic wellbeing of our beautiful region. We know our water environment is vital to both locals and visitors alike, and over the last year our region has faced a significant challenge around water resources, which our customers and communities have helped us to tackle head on.
“Our Stop the Drop campaign has worked to start bringing our precious water supplies back on track and we thank every person and business in our region for the crucial role they have played in helping us do that. We hope to keep working together as we strive to ensure resilient water supplies, and continue to support the needs of the region in the future.”
Chair of judges Dr Natalie Semley, Lecturer in Sustainable Tourism Management at Cornwall Business School, commented: “The level of excellence being sustained throughout the South West region was truly inspirational, and represents the extraordinary level of dedication and commitment from each and every business shortlisted. It is clear that these finalists have taken responsibility, and have actively embedded resilience and sustainability into their organisations.”
Robin Barker, Director of Services for Tourism Ltd, who manage the Awards, added: “I am so looking forward to celebrating with the region’s best. To continue innovating, being ever more sustainable, and delighting customers at the same time as overcoming so much adversity is a real testament to their passion and commitment. Many congratulations to them all.”
The full list of Finalists and Commended entrants can be found here.