For tourism businesses across the South East the wait is over – the finalists in the 2019/20 Beautiful South Awards have been chosen, with a number of Isle of Wight businesses shortlisted and commended.
This year saw a near-record number of entries (170) in 23 categories from all parts of the region – 40% more than last year. They were shortlisted from their entry forms and mystery shopped by expert independent judges. Now, 80 finalists have been announced along with 24 businesses whose achievements have been recognised with commended certificates.
Locally, Robin Hill’s Electric Woods has been named as a finalist for the Tourism Event/Festival of the Year category, for which Terror Island at sister park Blackgang Chine has been commended. Other finalists include East Afton Farmhouse (Wedding Venue of the Year); Whitecliff Bay Holiday Park (Camping and Holiday Park of the Year); Sibbecks Farm Glamping and Tom’s Eco Lodge (Glamping Business and Alternative Accommodation of the Year); The Mill House (Self Catering Accommodation of the Year) and Monkey Haven (Small Visitor Attraction of the Year).
Hovertravel has been commended for the Access and Inclusivity Award, whilst their employee Lorry Middleton has been named as a finalist for the Customer Service Superstar Award. Monkey Haven was commended for the Ethical, Responsible and Sustainable Tourism Award.
Mark Smith, chairman of Tourism South East, said:
“Every year I’m blown away by the sheer quality of the businesses that enter the Beautiful South Awards. It’s a reminder that tourism businesses in the South East are a match for any in the country and some are truly world class.
“This year the overall standard of entries was higher than ever making it extremely tough for the judges. The margins in some categories were extremely fine and some excellent businesses that I would encourage to enter again next year, narrowly missed the cut”.
The businesses shortlisted will learn whether they are celebrating a gold, silver or bronze award at the prestigious awards ceremony at the Grand Brighton, on Tuesday 10th December.
Winners in matching Visit England categories will be invited to represent the South East in the National VisitEngland Awards which take place early in 2020.
The full list of finalist and commended for 2019 can be found here.
Robin Hill’s Festival of Light is running until 2nd November with 2 additional dates this week (29th & 30th). Terror Island is running from tomorrow through to 2nd November!