MEMBERS of Bournemouth’s tourism and leisure industry got together on Thursday night to celebrate their success over the past year.

The Bournemouth Tourism Awards were held at the O2 Academy in Boscombe and featured a Victorian seaside theme for the largest event of its eight-year history.

View all our pictures of the winners in a gallery here

The evening, supported by headline sponsors the Coastal and the Town Centre Business Improvement Districts, was attended by 330 people and saw 13 awards presented.

The Daily Echo’s People’s Choice Award was also back for its second year, voted for by the paper’s readers, who picked Flirt Café Bar as the winning business from the top five nominees.

Guests were treated to a line-up of entertainment, including Britain’s Got Talent semi finalists, Hoop La La performing their Bathing Beauties hula-hoop act, a performance from Andremeda, a sensual aerial routine from Colette Morrow using silks and hoops and a dramatic illusionist show.

Andrew Francis, chairman of the Bournemouth Tourism Management Board, said: “I’m really excited about the new Wheels Festival taking place next year – to see Schumacher’s Benetton Formula One car driven through the Lower Gardens along with a host of other wheel themed content was brilliant and a sign of things to come in May 2014.

“I can’t round up 2013 without mentioning the incredible summer weather and the impact this had on the many visitors flocking to the town – it’s just what the industry needed after the last couple of summers and of course it culminated in an outstanding air festival, attracting 1.3m visitors, and the Saturday seeing record attendance.

“And lastly the excellent 29-day Onstage at Pier Approach summer entertainment programme at the newly-created space where the IMAX once stood – The Waterfront at Pier Approach. It helped to create excitement among visitors and gave them another great reason to stay in the town.”

The Bournemouth Tourism Awards’ winners 2013:

Outstanding Customer Service of the Year, sponsored by Bournemouth Chamber of Trade and Commerce

Winner: The Grove Hotel

Highly commended:

  • National Trust – Brownsea Island
  • Discover Dorset Tours Ltd
  • The Escoffier Restaurant
  • The Balincourt Guest Accommodation

Tourism Marketing Initiative of the Year, sponsored by Coles Miller Solicitors

Winner: Shake and Stir

Highly commended:

Self catering, Camping and Caravanning Establishment of the Year, sponsored by Coastal BID

Winner: South Lytchett Manor Caravan & Camping Park

Highly commended:

  • Riverside Park
  • The Coach House

Small Hotel or Guest Accommodation of the Year, sponsored by the Barker Group

Winner: The Living Room

Highly commended:

  • The Balincourt Guest Accommodation

Best Shopping Experience of the Year, sponsored by Town Centre BID

Winner: Fab Frocks of Westbourne

Highly commended:

  • Latimer House
  • Barnabys Opticians

Contribution to International Education and Conference Business Experience of the Year, sponsored by Bostico International

Winner: BEET Language School

Highly commended:

  • Discover Dorset Ltd
  • Bournemouth & Poole College Travel & Tourism Department

Tourism Attraction Experience of the Year, sponsored by National Coastal Tourism Academy

Winner: National Trust Corfe Castle Medieval Village

Highly commended:

  • National Trust Brownsea Island
  • Poole Sea Safari
  • Oceanarium, The Bournemouth Aquarium
  • All Fired Up Ceramic Cafe
  • Go Ape Moors Valley

Large/Medium Hotel of the Year, sponsored by Mokarabia

Winner: The Cumberland Hotel

Highly commended:

  • The Riviera Hotel
  • Menzies Bournemouth Hotels
  • The Norfolk Royale Hotel ‘The Norfolk’

Taste of Bournemouth, Restaurant/Bistro of the Year, sponsored by Poole Audi

Winner: Harry Ramsden’s Bournemouth

Highly commended:

  • Ventana Grand Cafe
  • The Escoffier Restaurant
  • Koh Thai Tapas Bournemouth
  • The Living Room Tourism

Transport of the Year, sponsored by Breeze VW

Winner: More

Highly commended:

  • CitySightSeeing Bournemouth
  • Getting About Team - Bournemouth Borough Council

Best Evening Experience of the Year, sponsored by Jack FM

Winner: Bournemouth Arts by the Sea Festival Opening Weekend

Highly commended:

  • National Trust Corfe Castle - Falconry & Jousting
  • Bournemouth Pavilion & Terrace Bistro, Cafe & Bar
  • 1812 Lounge Bar
  • Bar So
  • The Escoffier Restaurant

Daily Echo’s People’s Choice Award

Winner: Flirt Cafe Bar

Highly commended:

  • Harry Ramsden’s Bournemouth
  • Treehouse Family Play Ltd
  • Koh Thai Tapas Bournemouth
  • Hinton Firs Hotel (Angela Young Hotels Ltd)

Outstanding Contribution to Tourism

  • Leader of Bournemouth Borough Council, Councillor John Beesley