TOURISTS from around the globe flock to Oxfordshire to see its dreaming spires, historic buildings, idyllic countryside and cosy pubs.

Now the people who make their visits enjoyable have had their role recognised as the finalists were unveiled in the Beautiful South Awards for Excellence.

Run by Tourism South East, the awards feature 16 categories each with between three and five finalists, as well as a highly commended title.

Abbey Guest House in Abingdon was highly commended in the Access for All award, which promotes disabled access, and is a finalist in the Bed and Breakfast Accommodation of the Year category.

Oxford Bus Company made the final four in the Access for All award.

Tracy Slator from Oxford Castle Unlocked is a finalist in the Unsung Hero Award for Customer Service and the Thame Food Festival made the final of the Tourism Event of the Year award.

The Lamb Inn in Sheep Street, Burford, is a finalist in Small Hotel of the Year and Blenheim Palace was highly commended in the Large Visitor Attraction of the Year category.

The Lamb Inn general manager Bill Ramsay said he was delighted.

He said: “We continuously improve on the area we focus the most on, which is taking care of guests.

“Standing in front of someone with a smile and genuinely wanting to take care of them is very important.

“We have completely rebuilt our kitchen and redecorated our restaurant.

“We put a welcome letter on the bed for every guest and homemade flapjacks as a daily gift in the rooms, which now all have espresso machines.”

The 62 finalists across all categories will discover if they have won gold, silver or bronze at the awards celebration to be held on Thursday, December 2, at the Grand Hotel, Brighton.

Winners will be invited to represent the South East at the national Visit England Awards in 2016.

Abbey Guest House owner Terry Boswell, who has run the business for 11 years, felt recent improvements helped her reach the final. She said: “We have expanded and installed a lift, and created two larger family rooms and a new commercial kitchen to make my breakfasts better.

“I am very happy and very pleased.”

Ms Slator, from North Way in Headington, has worked as a tour guide at Oxford Castle for more than nine years.

She said: “I’m so surprised I’ve been nominated. I didn’t even know the award existed until my manager told me last Friday.

“I’ve no idea what I would do if I won but it is nice to be recognised and to feel appreciated for the work I have done.”