THE pinnacle of the isle of Man’s tourist industry was honoured at the seventh annual tourism awards held at the Claremont Hotel in Douglas.
The Department of Economic Development’s member for tourism Geoff Corkish said tourism had an important role to play in in encouraging a successful and diverse economy. To that end, he said 100,000 copies of the island’s visitor guide were being printed.
‘We have confirmed 16 cruise ships visiting next year and that compares favourably with Belfast and Liverpool, and the free visitor mobile “app” featuring things to do and places to visit has had more than 1,500 downloads to date,’ he said.
In the past year there was a 4.2 per cent increase in visitor numbers, visitor spending rose by 8.1 per cent to £98m and he said 6,190 people, representing 15 per cent of the economically active population were employed in the toursim industry.
Adjudicators for this year’s tourism awards were Douglas mayor Councillor David Ashford, Chamber of Commerce chairman Mike Hennessy and Ian Moncrief-Scot, the Isle of Man STEP co-ordinator.
Presenting the first batch of awards, Mr Moncrief-Scott said it had been an honour and a privilege to be a judge: ‘Thank you for this valuable and fulfilling experience,’ he said.
Winner of the award for best customer service was Billy Stowell of the Nautical Museum, who was described has having real passion for his job.
The Ascot Hotel, which was described as ‘outstanding’, scooped the award for the best hotel accommodation. Best guest house accommodation went to the Monaville guest house run for 25 years by Billy and Eileen Stewart. Their guest house was described by customers and a ‘home from home’.
Laxey Harbour Chalets were the best self catering accommodation.
The chalets at the side of the picturesque Laxey harbour have been nominated five times and this was the third win for owners Brian and Barbara Quirk.
‘Every year we try to provide what our guests want and really we want to say thank you to them,’ Mr Quirk said.
Celebrating their 10th year in business the Tapas Restaurante in Port Jack had extra cause for jubilation after winning the nomination for best eating out experience.
‘This is a wonderful gift, thank you,’ said Jill Segovia who collected the award with partner Manolo.
John Bate, warden of Laxey commissioners’ Quarry Road campsite collected the award for best campsite for the third time out of five nominations.
Former police inspector Andy Turner collected the award for the best attraction for his Isle of Man trike tours business. Castletown was named as the best town or village and the event of the yea was named as the Isle of Man walking festival.
‘One of my more pleasurable jobs is celebrating the tourism industry in the island,’ Mr Corkish said.