After the longest awards season ever, 75 finalists and 33 commended businesses have been named in the regional Tourism Awards, which saw over 400 entries from across Devon, Cornwall, the Isles of Scilly, Bath, Bristol, Dorset, Somerset, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire.

Sponsored by South West Water, the awards programme opened for entries in March of last year, with plenty of adaptations and extensions along the way. Launched prior to the first UK lockdown, judging has taken account of business entries, digital presence and feedback along with evidence of Covid secure measures, with judges poring over entry forms, websites, social media and review sites prior to decisions taken by an independent panel.
The awards will be presented online on 22nd April following a Meet the Finalists event, which will be held on 13th April, where finalists and sponsors will get a chance to share their news and plans. Up to five finalists have been announced in each category, but all will have to wait until 22nd April to find out what they have won.

Jo Ecroyd, Customer Service Director of headline sponsors South West Water, said: “We’re delighted to be headline sponsors of this year’s South West Tourism Awards. 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. It has certainly been a challenging year for businesses, and we applaud all our finalists for their perseverance in the face of the challenges from the pandemic over the past year.

“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.”

Robin Barker, director of Services for Tourism Ltd, who manage the Awards, commented: “We so nearly cancelled this year’s awards but are so glad we continued.  The reaction from businesses, the stories they’ve told, and the innovation and inspiration we’ve witnessed amongst hundreds of small businesses has been humbling.  We’re so pleased to be able to play our part in supporting such a deserving and important sector.”

Co-organiser Nell Barrington added: “I have been humbled to hear the stories from these just amazing businesses overcoming adversity and to see their excitement about welcoming back visitors.  I look forward to the time when I can celebrate with them all in person. They have all worked so hard and rightly deserve this recognition.  Congratulations to them all.”

A number of businesses across Dorset have been named as finalists or commended, including the following members and friends of Dorset Food and Drink

The Tank Musuem | Large Visitor Attraction of the Year | Finalist
Nothe Fort | Small Visitor Attraction of the Year | Finalist
Sculpture by the Lakes | Small Visitor Attraction of the Year | Finalist
Dorset Arts Festival hosted by Sculpture by the Lakes | Tourism Event of the Year | Finalist

Congratulations to all our members and good luck for 22nd April! You can find a full list of finalists and commended in all categories here.

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