WHETHER they come because of the dreaming spires, Harry Potter or Inspector Morse seven million visitors pour into Oxford every year.

Half a million of them will walk into Experience Oxfordshire's Broad Street information centre, all with different needs and desires.

The organisation's ability to tailor visits for each and every one of them has seen it reach the final of the Visit England awards in the visitor information provider of the year category.

Customer services development manager Vanessa Allen said part of Experience Oxfordshire's success was being able to use local knowledge to ensure visitors have the best trip possible.

She said: "It is a very personal interaction with visitors when they come finding out exactly what they need and trying to help them with their quest, whatever it might be.

"The attractions of Oxford that people know of worldwide do not really change.

"The historic buildings and the university are the major attractions but there is a lot of interest in TV and film. Harry Potter and Inspector Morse, along with Lewis and Endeavour, are an enormous draw.

"There are a lot of people who come in and say 'I am here for two hours what can I do?'

"So we have some suggestions for them, whether the city sightseeing bus or a walking tour, or a guide book.

"For longer-staying visitors it is saying 'how much would you like to do?' and giving them suggestions for the right sort of attractions for their interests, their family type, and ages of children, if they have them."

Experience Oxfordshire is a not-for-profit organisation and is charged with promoting the county and working with Visit England and Visit Britain.

The Visit England awards are designed to celebrate the best in the tourism industry.

Despite only having a small office in Broad Street, Ms Allen said the organisation tried to offer as many services as possible.

She said: "It is really just trying to help as many people as possible, whether that is booking tickets for the tours or the left luggage service we introduced two years ago.

"It is often used by people who have come for a night or two and check out of their hotel in the morning and have the day to explore Oxford before they go to their next place."

The winners of the awards will be announced at a ceremony at the Hilton Waldorf hotel in London on April 24.

But Ms Allen said reaching the final alone, was a great achievement and would improve the service Experience Oxfordshire can offer.

She said: "Part of the process of getting this far in the award means we have been mystery shopped by officials from Visit England.

"They have tested our email and phone responses and they have come into the shop a few times.

"They have given us a little bit of feedback so far and, after the awards have been announced, we will get more in-depth feedback.

"It is a great boost for the staff and they are given a boost to do their best."