Innovation, dedication and passion in Poole’s vibrant tourism industry was celebrated at the Sibbett Gregory Poole Tourism Awards yesterday.
Sponsored by local commercial property agents surveyors and town planners, Sibbett Gregory, the town’s annual premier awards hosted over eighty key tourism businesses at the ceremony at the prestigious Hytes Suite, Harbour Heights.
This year the choice of nominations gave the judges some difficult decisions, demonstrating the strength of the local tourism product and the huge input, enthusiasm and investment from organisations and individuals who make a key contribution to Poole’s tourism.
Jonathan Sibbett, Director at Sibbett Gregory, said: “We have always been proud to support this event - having an excellent tourism product makes the town not just attractive to visitors but also to residents and people looking to invest in the town. The awards are a fantastic way to acknowledge those businesses that continue to innovate and develop and we are thrilled to continue to sponsor them. We would like to congratulate all the nominees for their exceptional work and achievements.”
Bruce Grant-Braham, Chairman of the Poole Tourism Management Board, said: “These awards aim to champion best practise, recognise excellence and reward achievements which create exemplars for others to aspire to. We can never be complacent about just what this level of dedication and investment means for the town in terms of jobs, facilities and reputation and I would like to thank all our tourism businesses, whether shortlisted or not, for playing their part in helping us achieve this.”
The winners in the five main categories were:
Tourism Promotion of the Year – Poole Harbour Boat Show
The inaugural Poole Harbour Boat Show attracted over 15,000 visitors and is set to become an integral part of the events calendar putting Poole firmly on the maritime event map. Poole Harbour Commissioners felt Poole was a perfect location for an all-encompassing boat show to celebrate the rich and varied marine business sector that is key to the town. The opportunity to make boating accessible to a new audience received a positive response from both exhibitors and visitors. The event is set to develop over the next two years and provide a fantastic international showcase for the town as Poole plays host to the prestigious European Maritime Day in 2017.
Highly Commended – Real Vintage, Activate Performing Arts for “Circus Boo”, FJB Hotels, Italian Villa Compton Acres.
Green Tourism Initiative – Dolphin Shopping Centre
The Dolphin Shopping Centre has put the environment high on its agenda, with their commitment to introducing new methods to maintain a sustainable and commercially viable shopping destination. Winner of the “International Green Apple Awards for Environmental Best Practice”, the Dolphin Centre is also considered an environmental leader, becoming the first shopping centre to install the Orbio System using a ‘chemical free’ cleaning system. As well as changes within the centre they have run a series of environmental events this year including a two day Taste Festival showcasing a range of local food and drink, and the Eco Garden, encouraging children to convert a range of objects into green-inspired goods.
Highly commended – Poole Quay Boat Haven and Port of Poole Marina, FJB Hotels
Development of the Year – Condor Ferries
Condor Ferries has been an important part of Poole since 1987 and is the only ferry operator serving the Channel Islands from the UK. With the return to the Port of Poole from Weymouth in March 2015, Condor has given a real boost to the town’s local economy. The investment of £50 million in the “Condor Liberation” marks a new era in sea travel. Each year Condor Ferries carries more than one million passengers and 20,000 vehicles through the port of Poole.
Highly Commended – The Plantation, City Cruises
Supporting Tourism in Poole – Bournemouth Air Festival
Bournemouth Air Festival attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors to the conurbation, giving an opportunity to showcase the area and supporting Poole’s accommodation and boat operators (including charters and private hire). Since 2008 the Air Festival has welcomed more than 7 million visitors to the area and is recognised as one of the UK’s top free aviation extravaganzas.
Highly commended – Oceanarium, Bournemouth Airport.
Long Term Contribution to Tourism – Alan and Jackie Richmond, Splashown and Lemur Landings, Tower Park.
Since the opening of Splashdown Waterpark in 1990 Alan and Jackie have worked tirelessly to ensure that Splashdown has remained one of Poole’s top things to do. In 2012 they moved into the soft play arena, marking an expansion for a business previously involved with wet, rather than dry fun! Both attractions offer indoor fun for inclement weather, important for both visitors and the host community. Not content to focus on their own businesses, Alan and Jackie, have played an active role representing the Attractions/Transport sector on the Poole Tourism Management Board. Jackie has also been one of the driving forces in the Poole Attractions Group, who actively promote Poole to the Coach and Group Travel Sector, and both Alan and Jackie continue to strive to give Poole a year round top class attraction.
The day also saw a sponsors’ special award presented by Jonathan Sibbett, Director of Sibbett Gregory to recognise contributions from smaller individuals and organisations whose contribution to tourism are equally valuable and unique.
Sponsors Special Award – Poole Quay Bath Race
New Year’s Day sees Poole Quay crowded with spectators to watch the annual charity Bath Race.
Taking place for over 30 years, the event is now organised by the Blue Boar, this fun and sometimes chaotic event has raised thousands of pounds for local charities since it began. This is a local tradition not to be missed, and Sibbett Gregory are proud to recognise the effort and work by the organisers.
For more information and pictures on the Sibbett Gregory Awards for Tourism in Poole please contact Jo Baynes, Poole Tourism, email@example.com 01202 262535 or Jayne Sharman, Sibbett Gregory, firstname.lastname@example.org 01202 661177.