Devon’s finest tourism businesses gathered together on 11th March for the highly anticipated virtual Devon Tourism Awards Ceremony, sponsored by Visit Devon. Visitor attractions, accommodation providers and individuals were showcased and praised for their outstanding achievements throughout what has been an incredibly challenging year for the industry.

The family and colleagues of Ian Stuart, of Stuart Line Cruises, were delighted by the announcement that Ian was to receive a prestigious posthumous award as ‘Unsung Hero’. Ian sadly passed away in October 2020, after a second battle with cancer.

Emotional tributes were paid to Ian, in recognition of his exceptional achievements as one of the South West’s tourism business leaders throughout his life and he was praised for being a truly remarkable friend and colleague.

Stuart Line Cruises was started by Ian's father in 1968 and he took the business on and built it up to what it is today alongside his wife, Philippa and later his son, Jake. Jake is now the owner of the business alongside Philippa, and Ian was very pleased to see that business was continuing as usual, when he became more and more unwell last year. 

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Upon receiving this award, Ian’s wife, Philippa, said: “This award will mean so much to Ian’s family, colleagues and loyal passengers. We would also like to thank Anne Blackham of Devon’s Top Attractions, who nominated Ian for this award. Anne has always been a great friend and colleague to Ian, attending numerous trade shows and working together, especially within the Group Travel Market.”

Anne Blackham, of Devon’s Top Attractions, said: “It’s hard to put into words how amazing Ian was. He showed such incredible support for Devon tourism and his determination for the county to thrive as one of England’s leading destinations, was undeniable. Not only was Ian a brilliant businessman and a credit to Devon, but he was also a kind, funny and generous character with whom I adored working.”

The host of the event, Robin Barker of Quality in Tourism, summarised several other comments from attendees and former colleagues, saying: “I had the pleasure of meeting and working with Ian on several occasions. It is clear that he was a very popular man who had great influence on tourism in Devon and the ways in which it has evolved over the past 50 years. He was a great man, and his achievements were nothing but admirable.”

Stuart Line Cruises received many awards throughout Ian's career and this award was particularly poignant for his family, who were extremely humbled by the accolade. The family and colleagues associated with Stuart Line Cruises were truly humbled by this award and would like to thank the organisers for hosting such a professional and fun event, as well as the award category sponsor, Quality in Tourism.


Stuart Line Cruises
Boat Trip
Geology Day Trip

A family owned passenger boat business operating from Exmouth. With sailings along the East & South Devon coastline & River Exe. A large variety of trips available from scenic river cruises to all day excursions. Operating all year round.



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