The popular attraction near Winchester topped fellow finalists including Aviator in Farnborough, British Airways i360 in Brighton and Mayflower Theatre in Southampton to scoop gold for the Ethical, Responsible And Sustainable Tourism Award, sponsored by NFU Mutual.
Marwell Wildlife also won silver for the Large Visitor Attraction of the Year Award, narrowly missing out to Hever Castle in Kent, which won gold.
The prestigious awards ceremony, hosted by travel journalist and broadcaster Simon Calder, was held at The Grand Brighton and recognizes excellence in tourism businesses across the South East.
The judges said Marwell was an ‘innovative and engaging attraction’ and commended the wildlife park for its improvements to significantly reduce its environmental, economic and social impact of the business.
James Cretney, Chief Executive of Marwell Wildlife said: “What an achievement! I’m incredibly proud and this wouldn’t be possible without a fantastic team of people, which include our dedicated staff and volunteers.
“Our mission is to conserve biodiversity and other natural resources, and it’s vitally important that we not only practice what we preach, but we also encourage others. And we do this in every aspect; from the daily operations of our business to communicating and influencing others, be it our guests through our interpretation areas, schools via our education programmes or wider businesses, both locally and nationally, through events we host.”
Over the last 10 years, Marwell Wildlife has reduced its carbon emissions by 73% following concerted action and despite growth of the organisation.
The state-of-the-art Tropical House building has a number of sustainable and energy efficient design features, including a 100,000-litre underground storage system for self-sufficient use, a biomass boiler which generates heat from locally sourced FSC certified woodchip (instead of using oil), and the exhibit also has numerous interactive interpretation areas, so that guests can learn about energy, carbon and climate change.
Marwell has also reduced its use of plastic and stopped selling plastic bottles. Bottle filling stations have been installed for guests instead.
Organised by Tourism South East, this year saw a near record number of entries (a 40% increase from last year) from all parts of the region. The companies were shortlisted from their entry forms and mystery shopped by expert independent judges.
Mark Smith, Chairman of Tourism South East, said, “I was blown away by the sheer quality of the tourism businesses and experiences celebrating the trophies. Through some incredibly hard work, talent and determination, they have all achieved well deserved success and will be a great example to others. I am certain that they will inspire other businesses across the UK.
As a winner of the Ethical, Responsible And Sustainable Tourism Award, Marwell Wildlife will be invited to represent the South East in the National VisitEngland Awards, which take place early in 2020.
For more information visit www.marwellorg.uk.