A TOURISM team in Somerset have been selected as finalists in the Bristol, Bath and Somerset Tourism Awards 2019-2020.

South Somerset Tourist Information Centre (TIC) is in the final of the Visitor Information Service of the Year category - for the second year running.

The centre, situated on the A303, offers advice on attractions, activities, accommodation and so on, and has a gift shop.

“Announcing the finalists has been delayed many times due to Covid-19, but the wait has been worth it for such fantastic news," said Bev Stapp, the centre supervisor.

"After such a busy and successful year in 2019-2020 who could have envisaged what was in store for 2020-21, but the team are busy working behind the scenes to ensure the Information Centre and gift shop will be well stocked and poised to support visitors to the area as soon as the lockdown is lifted.”

The team also promotes Somerset events, sells tickets and stocks local products, as well as provides information on the West Country, and even the UK.

John Clark, portfolio holder for Economic Development, has acknowledged two other South Somerset businesses that are finalists - Esme's Escape and Long Hazel Park.

“It has been an exceptionally difficult 12 months for our tourism businesses, but when circumstances allow South Somerset is in a great position to benefit from the expected increase in staycations," he added.

"With our superb open spaces, active holiday options and raft of attractions I look forward to welcoming visitors as soon as it is safe to do so.

"I know that our Tourism team are working hard behind the scenes to create new webpages that will capture all that is special about our destination and look forward to visitors benefitting from this new resource, helping them to explore, later this year.

“I am delighted that two South Somerset businesses have also been named as finalists. Esme’s Escape are finalists in both the Ethical, Responsible and Sustainable Tourism Award and the Glamping Category, while Long Hazel Park are finalists for Camping and Holiday Park of the Year. Best of luck to both of these businesses.”

South Somerset Tourism are sponsoring the important Accessible and Inclusive Award at this year’s event.

The tourism team will discover if they have won gold, silver or bronze at the online awards day on March 18 2021.

Awards organiser, Nell Barrington, said she hoped this year's announcement will bring some "welcome good news".

“It is an understatement to say that the past year has been challenging for the tourism and hospitality industry with many finding themselves in truly desperate situations," she said.

"The judges identified so many businesses who despite the circumstances have innovated, adapted and even reinvented themselves showing true excellence.”