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Best of the Region’s Tourism Businesses celebrate at The Beautiful South Awards 2016

The Beautiful South Awards at the Hilton at the Ageas Bowl, near Southampton, saw TV and radio celebrity Toby Anstis celebrating the cream of the region’s tourism industry.

Supported by headline sponsor Shepherd Neame, the Awards are run by Tourism South East to recognise excellence in the industry.  Through this recognition and the benefits which flow from it, they help drive the ambitions of businesses throughout the South East and encourage them to raise standards in quality, innovation and customer service. The winners have the opportunity to represent the South East in VisitEngland’s national Tourism Excellence Awards which take place in April 2017 – and show that our tourism businesses are a match for any in the country.   

Amongst the biggest winners last night was The Vineyard, a top quality hotel and restaurant in Berkshire which scooped Gold in the Large Hotel and Restaurant/ Bistro of the Year categories.  Other multiple award winners were Port Lympne Reserve in Kent scooping Gold for its Treehouses in the Tourism Experience category and sharing Gold in the Self Catering Provider category with Wallops Wood, near Droxford in Hampshire. Wallops Wood also celebrated a second Gold in the Accessibility and Inclusivity category.

Other notable wins included The Royal Oak, Buckinghamshire, crowned Tourism Pub of the Year; Waddesdon Manor, Buckinghamshire, winning Gold in the Large Attraction category and joint Gold for Bombay Sapphire Distillery in Hampshire and The Monkey Haven on the Isle of Wight in the Small Attraction category.

Amongst the outstanding accommodation providers of 2016 were Field Green Oast B & B, Kent, Woodside Bay Lodge Retreat on the Isle of Wight and The Montagu Arms Hotel, Hampshire which, between them, lifted Gold trophies in the Bed and Breakfast, Holiday Park and Small Hotel/Boutique Accommodation categories respectively. Gold for the region’s best Tourist Information Provider went to Eastbourne Tourist Information Centre which also provided the Customer Service Superstar of the Year – Angela Marsden.

Nigel Smith, Chief Executive of Tourism South East, said, “Last night was a reminder of just how much the quality of tourism businesses in the South East improves every year. Many of the winners are truly world class.  Achieving excellence isn’t easy – it takes vision, years of commitment, hard work and talented people. All of the finalists can be proud about their achievements and the example they are setting for others to follow. Finally, I want to thank headline sponsor Shepherd Neame and the rest of our sponsors who make the Awards possible and the judges who give their time and expertise voluntarily. Sometimes the margin between businesses is tiny and they have the unenviable task of deciding between them. I am now looking forward to our winners taking on the rest of the country at the VisitEngland national Awards.”

Shepherd Neame’s director of retail and tenanted operations Nigel Bunting said: “Shepherd Neame is proud to sponsor the Beautiful South Awards for a fourth consecutive year. With more than 300 pubs, inns and hotels in our estate, we understand the importance of offering a great visitor experience. These awards are a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the vision, investment and hard work of the diverse range of tourism businesses in our region. We would like to congratulate all the finalists and winners on their achievement in offering an exceptional visitor experience.”

For a full list of winners click here.

To find out how to download photographs of the event click here.

To see a three minute film of the Beautiful South Awards Ceremony click here.