Exmoor National Park’s contribution to tourism in the South West was recognised at the start of February at the South West Tourism Awards 2017/18 when a special ‘Outstanding contribution to Tourism Award’ was given to the region’s protected landscapes (including National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the South West Coast Path).
The special award was presented at the awards ceremony, which has become the single largest gathering of tourism businesses in the region, with over 400 delegates present at the Riviera Conference Centre in Torquay.
Announcing the award, BBC Spotlight presenter Victoria Graham spoke about the way in which volunteers and staff work together to manage protected landscapes which enable the tourism industry to “deliver such wonderful and varied visitor experiences for our guests”.
Dan James, Sustainable Economy Manager at Exmoor National Park, commented, “We’re really proud that our contribution to the wider visitor economy has been recognised in this way. We work closely with local communities, businesses and land managers to help keep Exmoor special. Over 2 million visitor days are spent on Exmoor every year contributing almost £115m to the rural economy with 99% of visitors rating their experience as good or very good. This is thanks to the efforts of all our staff, partner organisations and volunteers that enable so many people to enjoy Exmoor and this is an award for them all.”
A number of Exmoor businesses also picked up awards during the evening including:
Longlands near Combe Martin – Gold, Glamping Accommodation
Salad Days Beach Huts at Dunster – Gold, Dog Friendly Business and Silver, Self-Catering Holiday Property
The Swan at Bampton – Gold, Tourism Pub.
The Luttrell Arms in Dunster – Bronze, Tourism Pub
Exmoor has also been shortlisted as ‘National Park of the Year’ in the BBC Countryfile Magazine awards. The work of the National Park Authority and partners on projects such as the reinvigoration of the Two Moors Way to open up access were cited by the judges for the shortlisting.
It is now down to a public vote to decide if Exmoor wins the top spot. You can vote online at www.countryfile.com/bbc-countryfile-magazine-awards-2018 until 5 March 2018.