After assessing almost 350 entries, making 213 meetings, a new record, and sitting through 20 hours of meetings, the panel for the South West Tourism Excellence Awards 2013/2104 have have announced their short list. There is an extended list comprising 63 finalists and 34 highly commended entries, and 59 of these finalists will be carrying the flag for the South West next May at the national VisitEngland Awards.
The South West awards are the ‘official’ awards for this region, and entries are open to businesses in Bath, Somerset, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, the Isles of Scilly and Bristol. They also link closely with the awards given out in Devon and Cornwall as well as the new awards scheme which is in place in Dorset. They are also classed as the regional heat for the VisitEngland awards, which is where the winners progress to.
Almost 350 entries were considered for this years awards, and every entrant had to undergo the rigorous short listing process. A team of 35 mystery shoppers and judges made an unprecedented 213 visits in order to whittle down the field. Entry cost nothing, and every entry received feedback on how they had done, offering them a great opportunity to address any issues and improve the chances of their entries in future years.
As well as numerous first time entries, the list of winners for this year included many who had entered previously and who had taken their feedback on board to make improvements to their business where it was needed. Pippa Griffith is the curator from the Tiverton Museum of Mid-Devon life, and she said that the rewards are fantastic and having won 2 prestigious awards in the past has greatly helped to raise the profile of the museum.