Tourism businesses across Dorset joined with other industry professionals and representatives at this year’s South West Tourism Excellence Awards held at Exeter Cathedral in Devon.
This year’s event was a record-breaking one with 374 guests in attendance and over 700 entries competing for 107 different awards following a rigorous judging process. All entrants underwent an intense shortlisting process with 559 finalists being visited by around 50 mystery shoppers. The top performers in matching categories will now go on to be nominated for the national Visit England Awards, which will take place in the summer.
A number of businesses from across Dorset were represented, with several walking away with Gold awards.
The Pub of the Year Award saw the Three Horseshoes receive a Gold while in the Café Category, the Yellow Bicycle Café won Gold and the Gallery Café, Bronze. The Langham Wine Estate was also showcased being commended for the Small Visitor Attraction Award.
It wasn’t just the businesses who were recognised during the evening, Swanage Information Centre won Gold for the Visitor Information Service Category while Bridport Tourist Information Centre was commended. The outstanding contribution award also went to Dorset-based business. Martin Cox, Director of West Dorset Leisure Holidays in recognition of his decades of support and innovation for the holiday park sector, Dorset and the South West in general.
Robin Barker, from Services for Tourism, the organiser of the awards, said: “I never cease to be amazed by the innovation, dedication and imagination of our tourism businesses not to mention their sheer hard work. It’s humbling to be part of this and I’d like to add my congratulations to all the winners.”
The event’s headline sponsor St Austell Brewery’s Jeremy Mitchell, the marketing and communications director, said: “There are so many businesses and individuals in our region that deserve to be recognised for their outstanding contribution and world-class hospitality. We’d like to congratulate those who were awarded for their best practice, hard work and excellent service. It was a fantastic night of celebration and all of the winners should feel extremely proud of all that they continue to achieve.”
See a full list of award winners here.