The winners of the inaugural Sopot Pearls tourism awards were announced at a gala which took place at the Sofitel Grand Sopot Hotel on December 5. The awards, created by the local authorities to recognize the achievements of local people and businesses in helping to support and grow the local tourism industry, were fiercely contested with winners and two runners-up chosen in five categories. The gala also featured promotion of local businesses and included a fashion show displaying the work of Patrizia Aryton, a female fashion designer whose family business is this year celebrating 30 years in business.

A total prize fund of 25,000zl was created by the organisers, the Sopot Tourism Organisation (SOT) with the support of Sopot City Hall. There were 43 companies nominated for the awards this year and the winners and runners-up were selected by a jury comprising of representatives from the local government; local and regional tourism authorities and tourism and hospitality experts. The jury was made up of city mayor, President Jacek Karnowski; Anna Golec-Mastroianni, president of the Sopot Tourist Organization; Aleksandra Gosk, chairperson of the Tourism and Spa Commission of the Sopot City Council; Marta Chełkowska, president of the Pomeranian Tourist Organisation; Katarzyna Choczaj, vice-president of the Sopot Tourist Organisation; singer and songwriter, Reni Jusis; screenwriter, director and producer, Juliusz Machulski; Jacek Janowski, director in the Department of Promotion and National Tourism of the Polish Tourist Organization (POT); culinary entrepreneur and writer, Kamil Sadkowski and finally professional hotel inspector and reviewer Karol Weber of enjoyyourstay.pl

.

The awards were created to recognise, reward and encourage those local businesses which add value to the range of products and services offered to visitors to the city explained president of the Sopot Tourism Organisation Anna Golec-Mastroianni. ‘Sopot is a pearl of the Tri-City. We strive to improve the tourist offer of our city. We want to strengthen Sopot’s position as a spa and as a place of numerous prestigious cultural and sporting events. We are pleased with the large number of entries in the first edition of the competition. We hope that it will permanently enter the tradition of the city of Sopot’, Mrs. Golec-Mastroianni told guests as she opened the gala and awards ceremony.

The 43 companies which entered were competing in five categories and the winners and runners-up were as follows: Hotel Haffner in the Stay category; florist Fjoł Flower Shop in the Debut category; the ‘Summer Cinema on the Pier in Sopot’ festival organised by Outdoor Cinema Ent. Sp. z o.o. in the Event category; the ecological shop and eco-cafe EKOSOPOT (Katarzyna Maliszewska) in the Pro Eco category and Restaurant Polskie Smaki in the Culinary category.

The winners

‘Debut’ category
1st place – Fjoł Usługi Florystyczne – Florists
2nd place – Sopot Loves You – ArtS & Souvenir shop
3rd place – ‘Walks in the Footsteps of Heroes’ organized by the Municipal Public Library Józef Wybicki in Sopot
The Mayor of Sopot’s Special Mention – Smak Słowa Bookstore

‘Event’ category
1st place – The ‘Summer Cinema on the Pier in Sopot’ festival organised by Outdoor Cinema Ent. Sp. z o.o.
2nd place – The ‘United in Diversity’ concert organised by the Baltic Artistic Agency BART in cooperation with Hala Gdańsk-Sopot sp.z o.o.
3rd place – The international show-jumping competition ‘LOTTO CSIO5 * Sopot 2019’.

‘Pro-eco’ category
1st place – The EKOSOPOT eco-café and ecological shop and its owner Katarzyna Maliszewska
2nd place – Hotel Molo
3rd place – Park 45 resort

‘Stay’ category
1st place – Hotel Haffner
2nd place – Victus Apartments
3rd place – Hotel Eureka

‘Culinary’ category
1st place – Polskie Smaki Restaurant
2nd place – Bar Przystań
3rd place – Mamma Mia il Gelato Naturale

The nominees were all nominated by the public in late summer and early autumn. It is planned to hold the awards annually so keep an eye out for the nomination period in 2020 for the chance to nominate your favourite places.