Devon tourism awards

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the National Marine Aquarium took top honours at the Devon Tourism Awards. Image © national Marine Aquarium

The National Marine Aquarium took top honours at the Devon Tourism Awards. Image © national Marine Aquarium

The 7th annual Devon Tourism Awards were handed out last week with the The National Marine Aquarium landing the main category –   Winner of Winners Award  – along with category awards for Sustainable Tourism, Access & Inclusivity and Venue & Business Tourism.

The Large Attraction of the Year  award went to The Milky Way Adventure Park in Clovelly whilst the winner in the category for smaller attractions went to Canonteign Falls in Christow. the winner in the category of Tourism Event and Festival of the Year went to Plymouth Armed Forces Day which takes place each June. Unique Devon Tours won in the International Experience of the Year award. Reach Outdoors picked up the top award in the Active and Sporting Experience category.   The Old Kennels    was named winner in  the Artistic, Cultural and Learning Experience category and  The Thelma Hulbert Gallery in Honiton won the top award in the Access and Inclusivity section.

Looking at winners in the accommodation categories, Kaywana Hall in Kingswear was first in the B&B category, Crealy Meadows Caravan and Camping Park in Clyst St Mary won the Camping and Caravanning Park of the Year with the Deer Park Country House Hotel in Honiton winning the Dog-Friendly Business of the Year Award. The Darwin Beach Cove Ltd, Ilfracombe was successful in the Holiday Park and Village category. Longlands received the accolade of Glamping Business of the Year. and the Ilsington Country House Hotel won in the Spa and Wellbeing Experience group.

The Bovey Castle  (once the home of the retail magnate, W H Smith) was Hotel of the Year and Longlands in Combe Martin and the top award in the small hotel category was split between Glazebrook House Hotel in South Brent, Kentisbury Grange in Barnstaple and Lewtrenchard Manor in Lewdown.

The Michelin starred chef, Michael Caines, added another accolade to his mantelpiece winning Best Restaurant/Bistro of the Year for his restaurant, The Coach House by Michael Caines at Kentisbury Grange in Barnstaple. In other dining categories, the Millbrook Inn won as the top Tourist Pub and Home Farm Café in Bovey Tracey picked up the top award as Café and Tearoom of the Year.

Drew Baker, the Entertainment Manager at the family-owned Beverley Holidays, has won the Unsung Hero Award for Customer Service. Neither can a holiday company succeed or prosper unless those that stay feel customer service is excellent. The Devon awards seem to be in a minority in promoting customer service so our congratulations go not only to Mr Baker but also to the Dartmoor National Parks Visitor Centre which walked off with the top prize in the Tourism Information Centre Award.  To repeat something I have written many times before, visitors rely on tourism information centres to learn what’s available in accommodation, attractions and opinions on what to see. Often the people who work or volunteer in these centres know about the hidden away items that don’t appear in guidebooks so rewarding them is important on keeping this necessary service alive.

Finally, there were  two other honours. Victoria Hatfield of the Exeter City Council & Devon Tourism Partnership and Rosie Bates of Devon County Council & Devon Tourism Partnership both collected awards for their outstanding contribution to tourism in Devon.

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