TWO Southampton organisations are through to the final of an event that aims to recognise the cream of the south's tourism industry.

SEE Southampton and the group which operates the Steamship Shieldhall have both been shortlisted in Tourism South East's Beautiful South Awards for Excellence.

SEE Southampton is one of the contenders in the Experience and Event of the Year category.

It normally stages walks and talks about the city's history, including its links to Titanic, the Mayflower's historic voyage to America in 1620 and the Spitfire, but has been forced to suspend its main activities because of the pandemic.

Shieldhall, which stages cruises in the Solent and Southampton Water, has been shortlisted in the Small Visitor Attraction of the Year category.

Its 2020 schedule was wrecked by the pandemic but the crew is hoping the vessel will be back in action later this year.

Built at Renfrew in 1955 she is the largest working steamship in the country.

The 66-year-old ship is a member of the National Historic Fleet and serves as a seagoing tribute to Britain’s maritime heritage.

Passengers can visit the bridge and the engine room as well as admiring the ship’s steam-assisted steering gear, which is similar to that used on Titanic.

Shieldhall has completed more than 500 voyages since she was bought by the Solent Steam Packet charity 30 years ago.

The Beautiful South awards will be held online on March 4.

Maurice Keys, chairman of SEE Southampton and Nigel Philpott, of Steamship Shieldhall, are delighted that both organisations have been shortlisted.

In a joint statement they said: "It's gratifying to see recognition in the Beautiful South Tourism Awards for Southampton.

"There is lot of activity taking place that encourages staying visitors to the city and we're looking forward to March 4 when these and other initiatives will be celebrated."

Other Hampshire finalists include:

Winchester Science Centre and Planetarium (Accessible and Inclusive Tourism Award); Solent Conference Centre (Business Events Venue of the Year); Sandy Balls Holiday Village and Shorefield Country Park (Camping and Holiday Park of the Year); Hampshire Food Festival (Experience and Event of the Year).