Four 'Tourism Oscar' nominations for Winchester

The shortlist for the prestigious regional 2005 Tourism ExSEllence Awards has just been announced and includes four nominations from the Winchester District.  The competition, which is run by Tourism South East, is open to businesses and tourism organisations across the region, from Buckinghamshire to Kent.

Shortlisted finalists from the Winchester District are:

Marwell Zoological Park, Colden Common, Near Winchester

Milnthorpe, Sleepers Hill, Winchester run by Alison Dudgeon

Signe Higgins, Museum Visitor Assistant, Westgate Museum, Winchester

Winchester Tourist Information Centre

The winners will be announced at a special ceremony and gala dinner to be held at Great Fosters Hotel, Egham, Surrey on the evening of Thursday 13 October.  Presenting the 2005 Awards is one of the best known faces and voices in British broadcasting, Angela Rippon OBE. 

Designed to encourage, recognise and honour outstanding achievements within all sections of the industry, the regional awards - and the national competition to which they lead - are known as the 'Oscars' of tourism.  There are fourteen categories with four shortlisted for each category.

Winchester City Council's Portfolio Holder for Culture, Heritage and Sport Cllr Thérèse Evans commented: "We are delighted that Winchester's tourism industry is being recognised in this way.  We feel that to be shortlisted from nominations for the whole of the Tourism South East region - the largest in the country - is a particularly impressive feat.  We wish all four finalists good luck!"

Eloise Appleby, Head of Cultural Services for Winchester City Council added: "We continue our efforts to drive up standards in every area of tourism provision across the Winchester District.  Winchester is keen to offer an experience which can match - or exceed - any other destination in the country.  In view of this aspiration, I am pleased that the city council is leading 'from the front' with two shortlisted entries for services that it owns and manages."

Marwell Zoological Park, set in 100 acres of landscaped Hampshire parkland, boasts over 200 different species from tropical frogs to big cats, from little lovebirds to awesome ostriches.  Open every day, except Christmas Day, tickets are available on-line from their website,

Milnthorpe self catering has been awarded five stars, the highest grading available, by VisitBritain.  This self contained attic apartment, quietly situated within 15 minutes' walk of Winchester city centre, can accommodate six.  For further details e-mail:

Signe Higgins, Visitor Assistant at The Westgate, prides herself on her customer service.  Nothing is too much trouble for Signe, who once opened the museum an hour early for an Austrian visitor who would not otherwise have had the opportunity to visit.  The museum, located in a fortified medieval gateway that served as a debtors' prison for 150 years, is open seven days a week during the summer months.   To plan your visit to the museum log on to:

Winchester Tourist Information Centre has enjoyed success before in the competition, having won the regional 'Tourist Information Centre of the Year' award in 2003.  The centre, housed in the historic Guildhall, handles 230,000 enquiries each year from all corners of the globe.  Details about the centre can be found on the official tourism website for the District at