Page last updated at 13:15 GMT, Saturday, 24 April 2010 14:15 UK

Devon and Cornwall businesses win tourism accolades

Thurlstone Hotel
The Thurlstone Hotel has been owned by the Grose family since 1896

Three tourism businesses in Devon and Cornwall have been recognised nationally at the Enjoy England Awards.

In Devon, the Thurlstone Hotel won the gold award for excellence and was named Large Hotel of the Year.

Trethem Mill Touring Park, in St Just, on the Roseland Peninsula in Cornwall, was also awarded gold and named Caravan Holiday Park of the Year.

Cornwall Classic Car Hire, in Bodmin, picked up silver in the Best Tourism Experience of the Year category.

The annual awards, which are in their 21st year, are held to promote healthy industry competition and drive up standards to ensure England's place as a "world-class tourism destination".

What swung it, I think, was our customer hospitality
Graham Grose, owner, Thurlstone Hotel

Alistair Handyside, chairman of South West Tourism, described the winners as "exceptional businesses" who deserved the national recognition.

"These businesses have kept driving forward despite any uncertainties they may have faced and have not compromised on the quality of their businesses," he said.

Graham Grose, whose family has owned the Thurlstone Hotel for more than 100 years, said the prestigious award was a tribute to the commitment of his staff.

"I was quietly confident, but we were up against some really stiff competition," Mr Grose told BBC News.

"What swung it, I think, was our customer hospitality."

Mr Grose said it was a great thrill for him personally for the large hotel award to come to Devon for the second year in a row.

The accolade was won last year by the double Michelin star hotel Gidleigh Park.

"This helps to put Devon firmly up there with the best," he added.

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