Large number of Isle of Wight businesses make strong showing in tourism awards nominations

Isle of Wight tourism businesses are being recognised for their efforts in the South East’s largest tourism awards.

The Beautiful South Awards, organised by Tourism South East, recognise the best across the region in a number of categories, and Isle of Wight businesses are a strong presence across the board. This year saw a 40% increase in the number of entries to the prestigious awards.

The awards ceremony will be held in December, but here on the Island, businesses are already celebrating the nominations and commendations in categories.

Hovertravel are celebrating a ‘commended’ mention for Access and Inclusivity, but are also waiting to hear if team member Lorry Middleton will be crowned Customer Service Superstar of the Year on the night.

Loretta Lale, Head of Commercial at Hovertravel, explains:

‘Lorry’s name is the one which is most mentioned in our positive reviews. He has been nominated in our internal customer service awards consistently and it is this ongoing dedication from Lorry to the customer which makes him a great example to everyone at Hovertravel.  He is approachable, engaging and always looking to help customers.  Most recently he was described as a ‘true gentleman’ and ‘a treasure’.’

Alec Dabell, Managing Director at Vectis Ventures paid tribute to the people who work at Robin Hill and Blackgang Chine:

‘All our teams work tirelessly to curate events at both parks and we’re all delighted to have received not just a commendation for Terror Island at Blackgang Chine but also to be shortlisted as a finalist for Robin Hill’s electric woods in the ‘Event of the Year’ category.’

Tapnell Farm have been made it through as finalists in the Glamping and Alternative Accommodation category for Tom’s Eco Lodge, while East Afton Farmhouse is shortlisted as Wedding Venue of the Year.

Chloe Baker, Accommodation Manager at Tapnell Farm, says:

‘Being finalists for both Tom’s Eco Lodge and East Afton Farmhouse in the Beautiful South Awards again is of course great news, even more so because we have only been hosting weddings at East Afton for just over a year. We have a wonderful team and this is a true testament to the hard work they put in to ensure we provide only the best experiences for all our guests.’

Josie Gavoyannis is the owner of The Mill, a B&B in Brighstone, shortlisted as finalist in the Self Catering Accommodation of the Year category:

‘We’re just over the moon, we’ve been on such a high since we heard the news, it’s just fabulous, we’re absolutely thrilled.’

Josie explained what she thinks makes The Mill stand out:

‘We’re aiming to make it a really personal experience, from booking right the way through to the enjoyment of the holiday. Before our guests arrive, we like to find out a little bit more about them, like why they’re coming to the Isle of Wight, are they celebrating a particular occasion, what sort of things do they want to do while they’re visiting, then I try and add those little personal touches that make the holiday really unique for them and just try and give them the best possible experience they can have.’

The Monkey Haven on Staplers Road in Newport has been nominated as Small Visitor Attraction of the Year, and commended in the Ethical, Responsible and Sustainable Tourism award.

Kelly Wickes is the Marketing Manager at Monkey Haven:

‘To be shortlisted as finalist in the Small Visitor Attraction is just the best news for Monkey Haven, we’re so excited, but to be told we’re also being commended for an Ethical, Responsible and Sustainable Tourism award is just incredible, we’ve been working really hard, trying in to implement sustainable changes throughout the park.’

Kelly adds that the commendation in the Sustainable Tourism award is fantastic recognition for their work:

‘Using our sustainable timber for our enclosures, growing our own vegetables for the monkeys, switching to palm oil free gifts in our shop, and it is just great to receive recognition and praise for our efforts which is resulting on having a real, positive impact on our park and the environment.’

Sibbecks Farm Glamping is also a finalist in the Glamping and Alternative Camping category. Vicki from Sibbecks Farm says:

‘We are very excited to have been selected as finalists for these awards – it is an amazing recognition for our small, family run business.’

Will Myles, MD at Visit Isle of Wight says the number of Isle of Wight business who have made the shortlist is good news:

‘The Beautiful South Awards are the pinnacle of the very best of South of England’s businesses. Isle of Wight businesses this year that have been shortlisted and highly commended for that cover lots of different categories Wow, we are there amongst all of the south of England and we’re shouting this Isle of Wight message that we’re great, and we are here for an amazing adventure and experience for people coming to the Island.’

Will adds that businesses do benefit from the recognition an award can bring:

‘It’s two-fold really. It’s you looking at your business and getting that big huge tick in the box that people see that you are the best, and that by mystery shopping, [and] all the various different elements that go through the process for this.

‘But also the public look at this through Trip Advisor, through the various things on your website, which is actually showing the accolades that you have – because they want to go to the best of the best, and looking at all these people who have been shortlisted on the Island, you’re up there with the best of the best.’

 Mark Smith, chairman of Tourism South East, says:

‘Every year I’m blown away by the sheer quality of the businesses that enter the Beautiful South Awards. It’s a reminder that tourism businesses in the South East are a match for any in the country and some are truly world class. This year the overall standard of entries was higher than ever making it extremely tough for the judges.’ Winners in matching Visit England categories will be invited to represent the South East in the National VisitEngland Awards which take place early in 2020.