THE closing date for the English Rivera and South Devon Tourism and Hospitality Awards 2013 has now passed.
The judges have prepared a shortlist for the 13 categories, and the selected businesses are now being visited by anonymous 'mystery shoppers' who will carry out detailed assessments of the quality of their product and service.
The awards have been a huge hit, with record levels of entries, as hospitality businesses become more aware of the positive impact a nomination can have.
Businesses who entered last year's competition have reported that their nominations have given them an advantage in distinguishing them from their competition, and have helped them market their product more effectively.
Carolyn Custerson, chief executive of the English Riviera Tourism Company, believes passionately these awards are a much-needed celebration for all the hard work which goes on season after season by business owners striving to improve the quality of what South Devon has to offer.
She says: "These awards demonstrate the breadth and quality of the English Riviera and South Devon offering and why so many visitors return year after year to this very special part of the west country."
Among the 13 categories are awards for Hotel of the Year, Excellence in Customer Service, Tourism Event of the Year and a brand new award category for 2013: 'Taste of the Riviera' fine dining.
Every business linked to tourism in South Devon has a chance to win — whether it is a tea room or a pub, self-catering accommodation, a major event or a visitor attraction.
Chris Hart, managing partner of award headline sponsors Wollen Michelmore solicitors and chairman of the English Riviera Tourism Company, said: "The Tourism Awards and the work Carolyn and her team undertake at the English Riviera Tourism Company fit perfectly together. These awards are an opportunity to celebrate the quality of B&Bs, hotels, restaurants, and all the many other attractions that South Devon has to offer."
A five-star awards ceremony on October 11 will celebrate the achievements of all shortlisted companies in the awards and announce the winners.