The Winners have been announced for the 2021/22 Devon Tourism Awards in a day-long online ceremony full of passion and entertainment.
67 Finalists have been announced as Gold, Silver, Bronze or Unsung Hero Winners as part of this year’s awards, with a 9 being Commended. A further 2 special awards will be announced and presented at a face-to-face awards celebration at Quince Honey Farm in May.
The awards cover the whole of Devon, including the English Riviera and Plymouth, as well as Dartmoor and much of Exmoor. The 12th year of the competition saw tourism businesses face ever-changing challenges, but the focus on excellence, innovation and resilience remained as relevant as ever. In parallel, many found time to become significant contributors to the Devon’s efforts to support key workers and those facing hardship.
Activity providers, pubs, cafes, attractions, and restaurants were recognised alongside accommodation providers in 24 categories. Winners included many new entrants to the awards, alongside several past winners continuing to excel. A special Outstanding Contribution award to Dick Wood was especially celebrated following his extraordinary leadership of the Devon Association of Tourism Attractions and his £3 million fundraising campaign to save South Devon Railway.
Deborah Heather of headline sponsors Quality in Tourism says: “It's such a privilege and an honour for the Quality in Tourism to be headline sponsors of these awards, and extra special for me as Devon is also my home. I am always motivated and inspired by the entries and the finalists, with this year being extra special given the resilience of the businesses and the drive and initiative they have shown to become tourism’s leading businesses of 2021/22. Congratulations to all.”
The Chair of judges, who remains incognito to retain her future anonymity as a mystery visitor, said: “Having faced the immense challenges presented by Covid, I was so impressed by the determination and tenacity of hospitality businesses who haven’t just kept going despite the challenges, but have learnt to adapt and excel. The levels of investment and innovation have been awe-inspiring but what is most striking is the incredible camaraderie shown by hospitality businesses of all sizes; Devon is lucky to have such a collective of organisations and we must make sure that we continue to support them and celebrate their successes.”
Sally Everton, Director of VisitDevon, said: “The Devon Tourism Awards showers positivity on what has been the most challenging 2 years for so many tourism businesses across Devon. With some definite light now at the end of what has been a very gloomy tunnel, the awards give a massive boost to the tourism industry who are able to celebrate something as special as these prestigious awards. We can't wait to be able to get back and do this in person!”
Awards organizer Robin Barker of Services for Tourism added: “Each year as we announce the winners I flag all the winners in my mind with a view to sampling every one of them – and at last, with covid hopefully now behind us, I intend to put this wish into practice. I very much hope others will do the same.”
For a full list of finalists click here.