76 winners are announced at the 2020/21 South West Tourism Tourism Excellence Awards in emotional online event.
Sponsored by South West Water, the awards programme opened for entry in March 2020 and, with plenty of adaptations and extensions along the way, it concluded on 22 April 2021. In the same way that hospitality businesses have had to change and innovate during this extraordinary period, so too have the awards, with judging taking account of business entries, digital presence and feedback along with evidence of Covid-secure measures, prior to decisions taken by an independent panel.
The awards were presented online on 22 April, with every winner given the chance to react to their award during one of three hour-long sessions. Emotions were running high, with winners ‘over the moon’ at having cause for celebration.
Winners came from Dorset, Somerset, Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, Bristol, Bath, Devon and Cornwall. Accommodation, food and drink, attractions, events and experiences all had their winners, along with those recognised for innovation, new businesses, sustainable tourism and accessibility. Twenty five winners took the top Gold accolade, including a special Outstanding Contribution award to the members of the Great South West Tourism Partnership, who have dedicated so much of their time over the last year to lobbying for and supporting the industry during the most difficult of times. There was also a special award for water efficiency, recognised as being of increasing importance both to business operations and the climate.
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 winners for their perseverance in the face of the challenges from the pandemic over the past year.”
Rob Scarrott, Head of Water Resources and Planning at South West Water said:“Special congratulations to The Sanctuary for winning the Extraordinary Water Efficiency Award at this year’s South West Tourism Awards. 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: “I feel honoured to have been involved in the awards over the past year and the last decade. Of all the years, this has been the one that has generated the most challenges as well as the most emotions, and we are so gratified to have played our part in giving our outstanding businesses something to celebrate. They are all so deserving! We can’t wait to get out and visit as many of them as possible.”
Co-organiser Nell Barrington added: “I have been really humbled to hear stories from these amazing tourism and hospitality businesses about how they have overcome adversity in these terrible times. It has been great to be able to celebrate their success today and I hope they have a fantastic season. Congratulations to them all.”
The full list of Finalists and Commended entrants can be found below with further information at www.southwesttourismawards.org.uk.