The Roman Baths has scooped three Gold awards at the 2020 South West Tourism Excellence Awards: for Large Visitor Attraction of the Year, International Tourism, and Accessible and Inclusive Tourism. The Assembly Rooms also won Gold for Business Event Venue of the Year.
The awards were announced last night (Thursday 6 February 2020) at Exeter Cathedral.
Councillor Paul Crossley, cabinet member for Community Services at Bath & North East Somerset Council, said: “We work hard to provide an outstanding welcome to all of our visitors and guests, and it’s great to have this recognised with four Gold awards. The success of our museums benefits residents in many ways: generating revenue for the local economy, providing jobs, and creating opportunities for learning and enjoyment. We look forward to the national VisitEngland Awards in June, when we hope to bring more awards back to Bath!”
The South West Tourism Excellence Awards recognise the ongoing quality development of tourism businesses in the region. Judging is carried out by an independent panel of past winners, industry leaders and experts. The judges consider written application forms, websites, social media and online reviews, and some finalists also receive a ‘mystery shopping’ visit.
At the Roman Baths, 49% of visitors come from overseas, with the two largest overseas markets being the USA and China. Audioguides are available in 12 languages, and there are information sheets in more than 30 additional languages. The Roman Baths has a dedicated Chinese website (http://romanbaths.cn/).
Every effort is made to ensure that the Roman Baths is as accessible as possible to visitors with disabilities. 90% of the historic building is accessible to wheelchair users, and visitors with hearing or visual impairments can enjoy the site using the British Sign Language or fully descriptive audio tour and tactile models. Information is also provided for visitors with autism and potential claustrophobia.
A fully accessible Roman Baths Clore Learning Centre is currently being created in former spa buildings next to the Roman Baths, along with a hands-on Investigation Zone set among Roman remains. New areas of the Roman Baths will also be opened up to visitors in the coming year, including a possible Roman exercise yard and a laconicum (a type of sauna).
The Assembly Rooms plays host to an increasing number of conferences, weddings and private parties. The Council’s Heritage Services department works closely with contracted caterer Searcys to deliver events for a wide range of customers, with a strong focus on local sourcing and sustainability.
Winners from the South West awards will go through to represent the region in the national VisitEngland Awards, which will be announced in June.