Cornish businesses feature prominently among the 90 finalists for this year’s South West Tourism Excellence Awards.

Tourism businesses from across Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, Bath, Bristol, Somerset, Dorset, Devon and Cornwall have been shortlisted for the regional final, which will be held at the Eden Project on March 23.

Among the local hopefuls are Hendra Holiday Park (Holiday Park of the Year), Budock Vean Hotel (Large Hotel of the Year) and PK Porthcurno (Small Visitor Attraction of the Year).

The news follows an awards process which started in April 2022, with 482 entries submitted, a rigorous judging process and many winning in their county schemes in Cornwall, Bristol, Bath and Somerset, Dorset and Devon.

The awards, which themselves won a further national accolade in 2022, achieving the ‘Outstanding’ accolade in the Awards Trust Mark scheme, are the culmination of ten months of evidence gathering, online entry, judging and county awards.

They are recognised for their rigour and quality of judging with independent judges spending months poring over entry submissions, websites, social media and review sites, as well as carrying out business visits, many of them mystery visits. Reports and recommendations were then submitted to an independent panel who made the final decisions.

Businesses and sponsors are looking forward to a return to Eden Project, ten years after the awards were last held there.

Up to four finalists have been announced in each category, but all will have to wait until March 23 to learn whether they have won Gold, Silver or Bronze trophies.  Many will also be nominated to represent the south west in the national VisitEngland awards later in the year.

Chair of judges, Dr Natalie Semley, lecturer in sustainable tourism management at Cornwall Business School, commented: “The level of excellence being sustained throughout the south west region was truly inspirational, and represents the extraordinary level of dedication and commitment from each and every business shortlisted.

It is clear that these finalists have taken responsibility, and have actively embedded resilience and sustainability into their organisations.”

Robin Barker, Director of Services for Tourism Ltd, who manage the Awards, added: “I am so looking forward to celebrating with the region’s best. To continue innovating, being ever more sustainable, and delighting customers at the same time as overcoming so much adversity is a real testament to their passion and commitment. Many congratulations to them all.”

The full list of Finalists and Commended entrants can be found here.