Introduction and Welcome
Welcome to the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence website. The Awards have been running for 23 years and without doubt play a major role in showcasing the fantastic range of high quality experiences we offer for visitors here in England, no matter what their budget. The Awards have had a hugely positive impact on tourism in England providing a benchmark for all businesses to aspire to and delivering massive benefits to participants and winners alike. Simply by taking part you could improve your business performance in terms of turnover, profitability, quality, sustainability, staff morale and customer satisfaction.
The VisitEngland Awards for Excellence are open to tourism businesses, tourism support organisations and the thousands of excellent people who work in them. Please take the time to explore the website. If you do have local award competitions it will tell you where they are and will divert you to them. If not, it will allow you to register directly. In addition the site explains the benefits of taking part, shows examples of past winners, provides guidance notes and application forms.
Last year we introduced an entirely different application process which became necessary when many local and regional awards competitions ceased to exist. In the past only winners of regional awards competitions were entered into the national VisitEngland Awards. To carry on with the old system was, therefore, unacceptable as it would have left businesses in large areas of England unable to participate in either local competitions or the national awards. VisitEngland was determined to protect and encourage all the surviving local and regional competitions which play such an important role in promoting quality and excellence in tourism. At the same time we needed to provide a direct application route for businesses located in areas not fortunate enough to have local awards. I am delighted to report that the hybrid system we introduced worked better than our most optimistic expectations. Under the new system businesses with local or regional awards have to first apply to these local and regional awards with their winners going forward to the National Awards. All other businesses in areas without local awards can apply direct. We received a record 394 completed applications. This was more than three times the applications received in the last year of the old competition. What was particularly pleasing was that 104 of these applications came in direct from businesses in areas without local awards. We would very much like to see that number increase in 2013.
This year there are also some changes in the Award Categories. We have introduced an entirely new Category – Tourism Pub of the Year. We have also amalgamated the former Best Tourism Event of the Year and Tourism Experience of the Year into an expanded Tourism Experience of the Year category. The Outstanding Customer Service of the Year Award has been dropped as Outstanding Customer Service is already a critical element in all of the Awards.
Remember the Awards for Excellence are about you and are organised for your benefit. The prospect of receiving an Award at the glittering annual Awards Ceremony is indeed enticing, but the real reward is the benefit to your individual business and to English Tourism in general.