A capacity audience of 288 guests witnessed 66 trophies being presented to tourism businesses at the first ever Bristol, Bath and Somerset Tourism Awards ceremony held at DoubleTree by Hilton, Cadbury House on Wednesday night.
Laura Rawlings from BBC Radio Bristol announced winners from each of the 20 different categories to excited cheers. To get to this stage each entrant had gone through a rigorous three-stage judging process, taking into account websites, reviews, social media, visits by industry ‘mystery visitors’ and finally a judging panel.
The winners were invited on stage to be presented with individually crafted awards made by Will Shakspeare, from Shakspeare Glass in Langport. Somerset based organiser Nell Barrington said “this is the first time we have run these awards in the county and we wanted the winners to receive something really special and unique. These pieces are just beautiful but being made of glass it was quite a challenge for me to ensure that we managed to present them all without incident!”
The Clifton Suspension Bridge Visitor Centre received the silver award in the Best Small Attraction category.
Robert Sinclair, Chief Executive Officer of Bristol Airport, the Headline Sponsor said: “The outstanding quality of award winners in all categories demonstrates the strength of the tourism offer in Bristol, Bath and Somerset. Bristol Airport welcomes thousands of visitors every day, and we take inspiration from the region’s best attractions as we aim to provide proper West Country hospitality to our passengers.”
John Hirst, Chief Executive, Destination Bristol said “We have been really pleased by the level of interest in the awards and I would like to congratulate all the winners. I am encouraged to re-focus on this again in the New Year and look for more ways to reward and acknowledge excellence within our industry. Thank you to everyone in making this event a huge success.”
David James, Chief Executive, VisitBath commented: “We are delighted that these awards give Bath businesses the recognition that they deserve and we were thrilled that several VisitBath members reached the finals this year.”
Successful businesses in the Bristol, Bath and Somerset Awards will now be fast-tracked into the South West Tourism Excellence Awards in February 2017 with eligible finalists also considered for the national Visit England Awards later in 2017.