Finalists named for top tourism awards
The finalists for the region's official tourism awards have been announced – with many of the Westcountry's star attractions and businesses in the running for prestigious prizes.
The South West Tourism Excellence Awards are the most anticipated awards of the year that celebrate the vital role tourism plays in the region.
Aerosaurus Balloons are flying high after winning a place in the Tourism Activity, Sport & Experience of the Year award
With three finalists in each of the fifteen categories, the chosen 45 now eagerly await a ceremony in February to find out whether they will take home bronze, silver or gold.
Among the hopefuls for the Self Catering & Serviced Apartment of the Year award are Old Lanwarnick and Roundhouse Barn Holidays in Cornwall and Compton Pool Farm in Devon.
Aerosaurus Balloons and Calvert Trust Exmoor in Devon will battle it out against the Minack Theatre in Cornwall for the Tourism Activity, Sport & Experience of the Year award, while Gidleigh Park in Devon faces stiff competition from The Jetty in Dorset and The Bath Priory Hotel in Bath in the Taste of South West category.
Finalists in the Holiday Park & Village of the Year category include Gwel an Mor and The Park Mawgan Porth in Cornwall and first-time finalist Finlake Holiday Park in Devon.
Mike Webster, food, beverages and conference manager at Finlake Holiday Park, said: "The team here are absolutely over the moon. We have won other awards in the past but to be in with the chance of taking home gold at the South West awards in February is on another level.
"We can't believe it and it just goes to show that hard work really does pay off."
Little White Alice in Cornwall, another new finalist, and Wheatland Farm in Devon will face stiff competition from At Bristol in Bristol to receive the Sustainable Tourism award.
The Small Hotel of the Year award will go to either Boskerris in Cornwall, Gidleigh Park in Devon or The Manor House Hotel in Gloucester, while Bovey Castle in Devon and St Mellion International Resort in Cornwall hope to beat Bowood Hotel, Spa & Golf Resort in Wiltshire for the Large Hotel of the Year title.
Hoping to win the Tourist Information Service award is Bodmin Visitor Information Centre in Cornwall who will fight Dorchester and Gloucester for the title.
The National Trust's Cotehele and Trebah Gardens, both in Cornwall, will go head to head with Brunel's SS Great Britain in Bristol for the Large Visitor Attraction award, while Devon's Atlantis Holiday Apartments and Calvert Trust Exmoor join Access for all Seaside Holidays in Bournemouth in the Access for All category.
Charmian Saunders, visitor services and volunteer manager at Cotehele, said: "We are absolutely thrilled and to win the South West award would be wonderful.
"It's a fantastic early Christmas present for the whole team."
The Small Visitor Attraction title will either go to Cornwall's Geevor Tin Mine or Penlee House, or River Dart Adventures in Devon.
The Cornwall Destination Management Company and St Mellion International Resort in Cornwall hope to beat the Arundell Arms Hotel in Devon for the Business Tourism Award, while Somerset's RNAS Yeovilton International Air Day has been nominated for the Tourism Event of the Year award alongside two balloon events in Bristol.
Chris Murray at Devon's popular Pennywell Farm hopes to take the award for Outstanding Customer Service over the hospitality team at Gwel an Mor in Cornwall and Francesca Laura Brennan of The Farncombe Estate in Gloucester.
Mr Murray said: "To find out that I am a winner in the regional awards is very humbling.
"It's an honour to look after and serve Pennywell's visitors – it is all about sowing seeds of hope and joy so to reap a harvest of happiness and fun, making Pennywell Devon's friendliest Day Out."
Pentillie Castle and Roundhouse Barn Holidays in Cornwall will join Larkbeare Grange in Devon to become the region's best Bed & Breakfast and Guest Accommodation, and the coveted Winner of Winners award will be announced at the awards ceremony at Torquay's Riviera International Centre on February 6.
News story courtesy of the Herald Express