Tourism businesses from across the South West have been named among 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.

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.

The awards will be presented at a black tie dinner at the Riviera International Conference Centre in Torquay on February 1, the culmination of ten 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 to learn whether they have won Gold, Silver or Bronze at the prestigious Awards Ceremony.

Robin Barker, director of services for Tourism Ltd, who manage the awards, said: “Excellence is elusive. It requires patience, vision, consistency, commitment, drive, ard 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 and highly commended entrants can be found at