The national Visit England awards were presented on 23 April, when 16 awards were presented to South West businesses, reinforcing the region’s position as England’s top region for quality.
The Visit England awards link with the South West Tourism Excellence Awards which held its awards ceremony in Torquay on 1 February, when 123 awards were announced at an event attended by 451 of the region’s top businesspeople. This followed a rigorous selection process, including judging of a record 647 entries from across the South West with many of them winning also in the awards held in Dorset, Cornwall, Bristol, Bath & Somerset and Devon. During the winter, the regional entries have been pitted against further entries from across the country, with finalists all invited to receive their trophies from presenter Kirsty Allsop at the VisitEngland awards event in Bath on 23 April.
Three South West nominees took prestigious Gold trophies in the national awards: Landal Gwel an Mor from Cornwall in the Holiday Park / Village category, The Roman Baths & Pump Room from Bath in the Inclusive Tourism category and Restaurant Hywel Jones by Lucknam Park from Wiltshire in the Taste of England award.
The region also picked up six Silver awards: The 25 Boutique B&B from Torquay in the B&B category, Mylor Sailing & Powerboat School from Cornwall in the Inclusive Tourism category, The Roman Baths and Pump Room for Inbound Tourism, The Milkshed from Devon in the Self Catering category, Devon’s Bulleigh Barton Manor in the Dog Friendly category and Wiltshire’s Lucknam Park in the Hotel of the Year award.
Seven Bronze award winners also took home trophies for the region: Loose Reins from Dorset in the New Tourism Business category, the Cary Arms & Spa from Devon in the Boutique Guest Accommodation category, Cornwall’s Screech Owl & Wildlife Park in the Small Visitor Attraction category, Salad Days Beach Hut from Somerset in the Dog Friendly award, Tewkesbury Park in the Business Tourism Award, Dorset’s Moors Valley Country Park and Forest in the Large Visitor Attraction category and Cornwall’s Polmanter Touring Park in the Holiday Park & Village award.
There was a surprise bonus for the region as The Guardian’s Richard Mellor took a special award for Travel Article of the Year for his coverage of the Isles of Scilly Low Tide event.
Robin Barker from South West awards organisers Services for Tourism, commented:
“These awards mean so much to those taking part and it’s wonderful to share in their celebrations at the national event. It’s also great to see the continued success of the South West and the region ‘heading the quality charts’ once again. With the 2018/19 Awards already open for entry we‘re looking forward to another record year ahead.”
VisitEngland Chief Executive Sally Balcombe said:
“These awards are a celebration of our thriving tourism industry. They highlight the people and the organisations that deliver amazing experiences for visitors, raising the profile of England as a world-class destination.
“The finalists have shown themselves to be of the highest calibre, using their talent and innovation to deliver excellence. The hundreds of applications this year reflect the quality products across our tourism landscape and I warmly congratulate all the finalists and wish them the very best of luck.”