Bath tourism businesses overcome impact of Covid to strike Gold in regional awards

March 19, 2021

Bath’s pandemic-ravaged tourism firms have proved they are very much alive, kicking and innovating by snapping up a raft of trophies in the region’s top awards for the industry.

The much-needed boost for the city came last night in the Bristol Bath and Somerset Tourism Awards which, for the first time since their launch five years ago, were staged virtually. 

The scheme’s organisers praised the 55 winners, who read like a who’s-who of Bath’s tourism and hospitality sectors, saying they proved that despite probably the most gruelling year ever for the industry, much could be achieved in challenging times.

Winning two Golds for the city was Savouring Bath, which has staged walking tours showcasing the city through its amazing culinary scene since 2016.

Guided by director Mike James and his small team of locally based food fanatics, guests on Savouring Bath tours get to sample scrumptious local produce and meet the makers while hearing tales of Bath’s culinary heritage.  

Its repertoire even includes a live virtual tour with the option for guests to have a tasting hamper delivered to their home.

Having virtually ‘collected’ the awards for Active/Learning Experience of the Year and Tourism Innovation, Mike said: “We’re so excited to have received these, and incredibly humbled by everyone who’s supported us.

“Our city is the most wonderful melting pot of independent food and drink creatives, and these awards will spur us towards recovery alongside our tourism and hospitality friends in Bath throughout 2021.” 

The firm is continuing to innovate with a new one-and-a-half hour tour launching in June to showcase Bath’s best cheese.

Mike, who trained with the Academy of Cheese, will use his knowledge to show visitors how to taste like a pro at tastings at venues around the city, along with fun tales from the Bath’s culinary heritage, along with recommendations for pairing.

Other Bath winners included Lucknam Park Hotel, the five-star former Palladian mansion set in 500 acres of parkland on the city’s doorstep at Colerne, pictured belowwhich walked away with Golds in both the Dining Experience and Wellbeing Experience of the Year categories, The Royal Crescent (Large Hotel of the Year), and the Queensbury Hotel (Small Hotel of the Year).

The Apartment, Bath – a two-bedroom luxury holiday home in Widcombe – won Gold in the Self Catering category, while The Queensbury’s Olive Tree restaurant and The Pig-near Bath landed won Silver and Bronze respectively in the Dining Experience category. 

Silver in the Active/Learning Experience of the Year category went to Newton St Loe-based West of England Falconry and Bath’s American Museum earned a Bronze award in the Visitor Attraction category. Lucknam Park also collected a Silver for Large Hotel of the Year.

Awards organiser Nell Barrington said: “It is an understatement to say that the past year has been challenging for the tourism and hospitality industry, with many finding themselves in truly desperate situations. 

I was humbled to hear the stories from these just amazing businesses overcoming adversity and to see their excitement about welcoming back visitors. 

“It has given me a bucket list of places to visit this year and I look forward to the time when I can celebrate with them all in person. They have all worked so hard and rightly deserve this recognition. Congratulations to them all.”

Clare Bushby of headline sponsors Clockwork Marketing said the awards were more vital than ever before.

“They provide normality during a surreal time, where everything seems weighted against hospitality,” she said.

“Equally as important, they give credit – where credit is more than due. Rather than despairing, entrants into this year’s awards have been remarkably inventive when faced with the impact of coronavirus.

“They have shown, against all the odds, that a pandemic needn’t stand in the way of excellent hospitality. This is in no small part due to their unflinching resolve and unbreakable passion for their industry.”

Visit Bath CEO Kathryn Davis said “I would like to congratulate all the winners and finalist. This has been an exceptional year for all the wrong reasons, but the resilience and innovation demonstrated by businesses shows how incredible this industry is. 

“It is wonderful to be able to celebrate success in this way and wish every business well for the future.”


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