The Roman Baths & Pump Room has won three South West Tourism Excellence Awards: Gold for ‘Access and Inclusivity’ and ‘International Visitor Experience’ and Bronze in the ‘Venue and Business Tourism’ category.
The awards were presented last night (Thursday 1 February 2018) at a ceremony at the Riviera International Conference Centre in Torquay.
Councillor Paul Myers, Cabinet Member for Economic and Community Regeneration, said: “We are delighted with these awards, which are testament to the hard work put in throughout the year by staff at the Roman Baths to ensure an outstanding experience for all of our visitors. The Roman Baths attracts more than a million visitors every year, which in turn benefits the wider economy of Bath and the surrounding area.”
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 and social media, and some finalists also receive a ‘mystery shopping’ visit.
The past year has seen a number of improvements at the Roman Baths. The East Baths, adjacent to the famous Great Bath, were revamped, with new projections, soundscapes and CGI reconstructions showing the Roman Baths at the height of their popularity as a working, living and leisure space.
Work will begin this year on the Archway Project, which will create a brand-new Clore Learning Centre for the Roman Baths and a World Heritage Centre, as well as opening up new areas of the Roman Baths to visitors, including a laconicum (sauna) and exercise courtyard.
Thanks to recent major redevelopments, 90% of the Roman Baths can now be accessed by wheelchair users. Visitors with hearing or visual impairments can explore the site using British Sign Language guides and tactile displays, and visitors on the autism spectrum can find detailed guidance about what to expect on the Roman Baths website.
Audioguides are available free of charge to visitors in 12 different languages, and printed information leaflets are also provided in more than 30 additional languages. In 2017, Mandarin was the most popular non-English audioguide, with more than 108,000 visitors selecting Mandarin, an increase of 7% on the previous year.
The Roman Baths and Pump Room plays host to an increasing number of out-of-hours 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.
The Roman Baths will now be entered into the national VisitEngland Awards for Excellence, which will be presented on 23 April 2018 at the Assembly Rooms in Bath.