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Literature Festival crowned best in the South West

Literature Festival crowned best in the South West

FROM Stephen Fry to Chris Evans, it's brought some big personalities to Cheltenham and now it's been crowned the South West's top tourist event.

The Times Cheltenham Literature Festival has been honoured with a gold award at the South West Tourism Excellence Awards.

At a glittering ceremony at the Riviera International Conference Centre in Torquay, the Literature Festival fought off competition from Bournemouth Air Festival, Cornwall Food and Drink Festival and Bath Christmas Market to scoop the prestigious award.

For Cheltenham Festivals chief executive Donna Renney it marked the perfect end to a successful year.

"We are overjoyed to receive this award, which celebrates the outstanding regional impact of the Literature Festival," she said.

The Excellence Awards aim to promote and reward the best in the tourism industry. This year's ceremony was hosted by Declan Curry, best known for hosting the BBC's Working Lunch business programme.

This year's Literature Festival attracted record-breaking audiences, selling 120,000 tickets.

Big names who attended included comedian Stephen Fry, model Jerry Hall and TV and radio presenter Chris Evans. The festival will now go on to represent the region at the National Enjoy England Awards for Excellence in 2011.

Ms Renney added: "It is very important that the contribution which cultural organisations make towards tourism is acknowledged.

"We are thrilled that South West Tourism has chosen us as the winner of this fantastic award.

"We can't wait to bring more award winning events to the South West in 2011."

Last month, Cheltenham Science Festival was honoured with a gold award at the first Cotswold Tourism Awards.

Alistair Handyside, chairman of South West Tourism, said: "I am absolutely delighted with not only the standard of entries, but also the calibre, dedication and passion for quality of our winners the tourism industry of the South West goes from strength to strength.

"Each year, we showcase what is truly excellent about our visitor economy and we celebrate success."

Among the other winners in Gloucestershire were Treasure Trails, which picked up a bronze award for best tourism experience and activity, and Gloucester Tourist Information Centre, which scooped the gold award in the Tourism Information Service category. The Edward Jenner Museum, in Berkeley, was a finalist in the small visitor attraction of the year category. The overall winner was Cornwall's eco-friendly Scarlet Hotel.

Story Courtesy of This is Gloucestershire. 17 November 2010

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