Balloon festival wins top tourism prize
BRISTOL International Balloon Fiesta led the city's successes at the South West Tourism excellence Awards.
The popular event that sees balloons gathering at Ashton Court every summer won the gold award in the tourism event of the year category. Bristol Festival of Nature was awarded bronze in the same category at the awards held in Torquay. Brunel's ss Great Britain picked up the silver award for large visitor attraction of the year and science attraction At Bristol was also honoured with a silver in the sustainable tourism category. Bristol's Tourist Information Centre was highly commended in the tourist information service of the year awards. And Harptree Court in East Harptree was also highly commended in the bed and breakfast and guest accommodation category.
Run by husband and wife team, Charles and Linda Hill, the home was turned into a B&B eight years ago and now includes accommodation in a tree house in the grounds.
Mr Hill said they were delighted to be highly commended.
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"We run our bed and breakfast on the grounds that we would like to stay here ourselves," he said. "We decided when we started that we had to do it wholeheartedly or not at all."
Chris Hathaway, chairman of the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta, said: "The fiesta has become synonymous with Bristol and the South West and it's with great pride that we accept this award, having worked hard to deliver a world class ballooning event that promotes Bristol regionally, nationally and internationally."
The ss Great Britain Trust director Matthew Tanner said: "Trustees, staff and volunteers are delighted by this latest recognition of the museum attraction and our many developments and improvements over the last year."
John Hallett, managing director of Destination Bristol, said: "This is fantastic news for the city. The awards really highlight the diverse quality of Bristol's visitor experience and recognise many of the city's great businesses and individuals who excel in the region's tourism industry."