TWO top tourism businesses from west Dorset have been celebrating this week after securing top gongs at the South West Tourism Awards ceremony.

Highlands End Holiday Park in Bridport picked up the gold award for holiday park of the year, and the Lyme Regis Tourist Information Centre collected the bronze award in the tourist service of the year category.

The awards were held at Plymouth’s holiday Inn Hotel on Thursday, January 30, to celebrate and reward the great and the good of the tourism industry, with more than 350 entries deliberated over by the judges.

Bridport and Lyme Regis News:

The shortlisted entries went through a rigorous selection process and were visited by a mystery shopper, before they were judged.

Robin Barker of Services for Tourism, who manages the awards programme, said: “After 10 months of work, this year’s awards are finally drawing to a close. “The event is just a small part of it all – the major tasks being liaising with business, managing the judging and helping our best get even better.

“Very many thanks to all concerned – the sponsors, judges and entrants. It’s great working with such an enlightened group.”

There were a total of 66 winners on the night, Both Highlands End Holiday Park and Lyme Regis Tourist Information Centre will now go on to represent the area at the National Enjoy England Awards for Excellence, to be held in May, ensuring West Dorset will have a strong presence at the national tourism finals.

A special award for outstanding contribution to tourism was also awarded to the South West Coast Path, for helping to attract tourists into the town to enjoy the scenic walks.

Mark Owen, National Trail Officer for the South West Coast Path, said: “We are absolutely delighted with it.”

There were multiple winners across the county, Launceston Farm Bed and Breakfast in Blandford Forum, Greenwood Grange in Dorset both also scooping bronze awards in their respective categories.

Picking up silver in their respective categories were Dorset Seafood Festival in Weymouth, National Trust Brownsea Island, Eastbury Hotel in Sherborne and Morton’s House Hotel in Corfe Castle.

John Crouch, Marketing Manager for Title Sponsors, Source for Business, said: “The Tourism Awards once again demonstrate how impressively the tourism sector is delivering a great visitor experience in the south west.

“What is especially pleasing is how businesses are embracing sustainability and particularly water efficiency.”