It was a night for the ‘stars’ of the tourist industry to come out and shine when the winners of the Red Funnel Isle of Wight Awards were revealed in a grand ceremony at Albert Cottage, East Cowes.
More than 200 of the Island’s tourism businesses were in the running for this year’s medals, with over 47,000 votes having been cast by locals and visitors, in a range of categories from Food and Drink to Accommodation.
From the public’s shortlist, a panel of expert judges chose their top threes in each of 19 categories, and the results were finally unveiled at the big celebration which also marked Red Funnel’s 160th anniversary.
The number of nominations for this year’s competition were even higher than for the first event, highlighting the sheer diversity of businesses across the Island – and reflecting the hard work and resilience shown by many in working through the pandemic.
Commenting on the awards, Fran Collins, Chief Executive at Red Funnel, said: “Over the last 20 months, businesses across the Island have experienced high levels of disruption, so it was very special to be together and mark the perseverance, optimism and dedication of our fantastic Island businesses.
“From producers and distillers to hoteliers and holiday parks, the Red Funnel team and I were honoured to be in the company of so many amazing entrepreneurs that capture the unique essence of the Isle of Wight”.
The Awards recognise places to visit, stay and eat across the Island, which are enjoyed by over 2 million visitors a year, as well as 140,000 locals, and help to keep the Isle of Wight right up there with the top destinations in the UK.
Among the Gold medal winners were Whitecliff Bay Holiday Park, the Royal Hotel, Ventnor, and Keats Cottage B&B in Shanklin, all in the Accommodation category.
Golds for Food and Drink went to the Smoking Lobster Restaurant, the Blacksmiths pub, and local producer Briddlesford Farm – as well as Corries Cabin in Cowes, for best fish and chips.
There were also Golds for the Isle of Wight Festival, the IW Steam Railway and Monkey Haven.
A full list of all 57 medal winners can be found at the Red Funnel website: www.redfunnel.co.uk