Hot on the heels of winning Gold and joint winner Event/Festival of the Year in the Dorset Tourism Awards, Sherborne Abbey Festival is celebrating once again, having been named today as Finalist in the South West Tourism Excellence Awards in the Tourism Event/Festival of the Year category.

Businesses and events from across the South West have been named amongst the Finalists of this year’s Tourism Awards, which saw a record of 645 entries from as far afield as the Isles of Scilly and Wiltshire, Dorset and Gloucestershire, Somerset, Devon and Cornwall.

Festival Chairman and Artistic Director, John Baker, said: “We’re simply thrilled that our volunteer-run festival has gone through to the finals of such a prestigious award. It is a huge accolade to all our team, our sponsors, supporters and patrons. It firmly puts Sherborne and Dorset on the map as a great destination for tourism and events, filling us with anticipation as we prepare to launch the exciting programme for our 19th Festival which runs from 4th-8th May”.

The events and festivals up for Bronze, Silver or Gold and overall Winner in this category are:

Judging involved judges poring over entries, studying website and review sites, looking at use of social media and 416 business visits, most of them unannounced mystery visits. Reports and recommendations were then submitted to an independent panel which made the final decisions.

The awards have seen a further increase in entries since 2016, reflecting their importance to entrants in showcasing the quality of their offering and as well as giving benchmark ideas for future improvements. As stated by Liz Lamport from Bulleigh Barton in Devon, a Finalist in the Dog Friendly Tourism Business category: “We really feel that the whole awards process has allowed us to develop our business.”

The awards will be presented at a black tie dinner in the Arena at the Riviera International Conference Centre in Torquay on 1st February, the culmination of a 10 month programme. They are also the official scheme for the South West, with many finalists also nominated to represent the region in the national VisitEngland awards in April 2018.

Up to six finalists have been announced in each category, but all will have to wait until 1st February to learn whether they have won Gold, Silver or Bronze at the prestigious Awards Ceremony.

Richard Stanbrook, Director of headline sponsors South West Water Business, commented: “As headline sponsors for the South West Tourism Excellence Awards, South West Water Business continues to be fully committed to the prosperity of this important and thriving industry – helping businesses save money, improve their green credentials and capitalise on their long-term sustainability. 

We’re privileged to be sponsoring the Tourism Awards again this year and wish the very best of luck to all the finalists.”

Robin Barker, Director of Services for Tourism Ltd, who manage the Awards, commented: “Excellence is elusive.  It requires patience, vision, consistency, commitment, drive, hard work, skill and often a bit of money.  That’s not an easy list and I’d like to commend this year’s finalists for once again blowing the socks of the judges.  You are a credit to tourism and the region is proud of you.”

The full list of Finalists can be seen HERE

Please follow the Awards on Twitter at @SWTourismAwards and Facebook www.facebook.com/swtourismawards/  The Hash tag is #SWTAwards

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