In a challenging year for tourism, Isle of Wight businesses are still shining, following the announcement of the finalists in this years’ Beautiful South Awards.

The prestigious competition is run by regional organisation Tourism South East.

Isle of Wight businesses are up against tourism industry heavy hitters from across the south, including Kent, Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Hampshire.

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Finalists for gold, silver or bronze awards on the Isle of Wight include Away Resorts at Whitecliff Bay, Osborne House which is operated by English Heritage and new tourism business Camp Wight, a wild camping site at Ningwood.

Gemma Cowley from Camp Wight said:

:We are absolutely thrilled to have been named as a finalist in the New Tourism Business category of the Beautiful South Awards. We are very much a fledgling small family business.

‘To be shortlisted as one of the top three new tourism businesses in the South of England is a fantastic recognition of the work all our family, including our two children.  We can’t wait to find out how we’re placed on March 4th”.

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Island businesses commended in their categories include Tapnell Farm and Nettlecombe Farm for Self-catering Accommodation, and in the Restaurant, Tearooms and Café category, Vernon Cottage at Shanklin Old Village.

Susan de Vere, owner of the popular destination, with her husband Paul, said:

‘We are delighted to win this huge accolade. It is an enchanting place. We are thrilled our unique ‘Isle of Wight Shaped Scones’ – made by Paul every morning – and our signature ‘Old Shanklin Pie’ and fresh homemade food can win this fantastic recognition – together with our beautiful Award winning eco-friendly sunny Tea and Beer Gardens which are my passion.

“We also thank all our fantastic tearoom and restaurant staff plus the local volunteers who help man our Shanklin Tourist Information point in the Gift Shop, all of whom make Vernon Cottage world class”.

Will Myles, Managing Director of Visit Isle of Wight said:

“Congratulations to all the businesses who have been shortlisted or commended for the Tourism South East Beautiful South Awards – it is a testament to the hard work of people here on the Island to continue to strive to make their tourism offering the very best it can be. I wish you all good luck for the awards night in March.

“Being in lockdown people are looking forward to when the time is right to visit again, these businesses show that they are among the best in the South of England and will put the Isle of Wight at the forefront of potential visitors minds, but not until the time is right”.

The Beautiful South Awards will take place online 4th March.