Leading Devon businesses were celebrating on 28 November as 89 Dartington Crystal trophies were presented at the 2019 Devon Tourism Awards amongst celebrations and a high-tech LED light show at the Riviera Centre in Torquay.
The Awards saw a record of 240 entries across 27 different categories, with 167 receiving judge visits as part of a comprehensive judging process. Guests at the dinner were enthralled by two inspirational presentations from Michael Smith, Co-Founder of the Venus Company, and Kate Salmon, part of the ‘Row for the Ocean’ rowing team that became the fastest all-female team in the 2018 Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge. Guests were also entertained by a storming performance as MC from Thomas Chartres-Moore from Stephens Scown solicitors and a high tech ‘LED juggling’ show from ‘Feeding the Fish’.
The night saw several special awards, with North Hayne Farm Cottages taking the prestigious Winner of Winners award alongside Gold awards for Access and Inclusivity and Self Catering. Guest speaker Michael Smith was also surprised to be awarded the Outstanding Contribution to Tourism award, presented by Visit Devon Chair Rhys Roberts in recognition of his ground-breaking work in sustainable development and the encouragement of local food and drink.
Commenting after the Awards, organiser Robin Barker commented: “The Devon Tourism Awards have been an extraordinary success story, helping hundreds of tourism businesses of all sizes to excel and gain the recognition they deserve. I am humbled to be part of it – and congratulate everyone for their innovation, passion and sheer hard work.”
Simon Nicholls, Head Honcho of headline sponsors Beco Energy says: “I’d like to congratulate all the winners not only for excellence in their own fields, but also acknowledging ever growing commitment to sustainability. It’s a source of great pride to see so many winners from my home county who champion sustainability in tandem with their business activities, setting an example to the world. As a business at the heart of sustainable tourism we look forward to working closely with all the winners."
Award categories covered a huge range of visitor experiences from accommodation, activity centres and attractions to restaurants, pubs and cafes. A special award for Energy Efficiency was presented by Beco Energy to River Dart Country Park, who also took Gold awards for Ethical, Responsible and Sustainable Tourism, Camping and Caravanning Park and a joint Gold with Salcombe Distilling for Small Attraction.
Food and Drink Golds went to Valley View Café, The Waterfront Pub & Dining, and Harry’s Restaurant. The top Hotel awards went to Paschoe House and Salcombe Harbour Hotel and Spa, with the 25 Boutique B&B taking Gold in the B&B and Guesthouse category. Other Accommodation Golds went to Devon Yurt and Ladram Bay Holiday Park.
Lisa Bradford from the Cary Arms took the special Customer Service Superstar award. Golds were also awarded to Pennywell Farm in the Large Attraction category, Reach Outdoors in both Active & Sporting and Learning Experience, Ilsington Country House Hotel and Spa in the Spa and Wellbeing category and Kents Cavern for International Visitor Experience.
Event Exeter was the top winner in the Business Events Venue category, with Kitley House Hotel taking the top Wedding Venue award. There were two Dog-Friendly Golds – one going to Woodland Cottages and the other to the Cadeleigh Arms.
Glas-Denbury Music and Arts Festival took the Gold for Event and Festival of the Year, with Lorrens Ladies Spa taking the top award for Tourism Innovation and Hayley’s Hut in the New Tourism Business category. It was fitting that the hosts – the English Riviera – took Gold in the Visitor Information Service category.
The full list of Winners and Commended is HERE
Photos from the night can be downloaded free of charge from nickwilliamsphotographer.co.uk/p472943136
Twitter: @DevonTourAward #DevonTA