VisitEngland launches refreshed tourism awards

VisitEngland has launched a new Awards for Excellence format to reflect innovations across England’s tourism industry as it marks 30 years of the Awards.

The national tourism agency announced the new format during the Awards 30th celebrations held last night 11 March at London’s Banqueting House on Whitehall.

The annual VisitEngland Awards for Excellence celebrate quality, innovation and best practice across the country’s tourism industry. The refreshed format embraces the impact of digital technology, the growing demand for experienced-based travel and tailoring tourism products and services that cater for international visitors.

VisitEngland Chief Executive, Sally Balcombe (pictured) said, “The tourism landscape in England is continuously evolving with visitors using technology to personalise the products they choose and our Awards must keep up with the aspirations of tourists.

“The VisitEngland Awards for Excellence have been redesigned, refreshed and streamlined to better reflect today’s tourism landscape. They also adhere to the guiding principles of the awards, recognising and rewarding the outstanding quality and standards thriving at the heart of our industry.”

New categories introduced for 2019-20 include ‘Experience of the Year’, ‘International Tourism Award’ and ‘New Tourism Business Award’ as well as simplified application forms and a new application management platform.

The judging panels will be tailored to suit each category type whether assessing sustainability, accessibility or food, leading industry figures will take part in the judging to ensure rigorous assessments.

The revamped Awards align with the 18 regional competitions that take place across the country, ensuring local winners are automatically put forward for the national Awards.

VisitEngland will also support destinations that do not currently hold local competitions to launch Awards of their own, giving greater coverage across England.

Applicants for 2019-20 will first need to progress through a regional competition, the first two of which opened recently in the south west and Cumbria.

A full list of core categories for 2019-20 is below:
1. B&B and Guest House of the Year
2. Small Hotel of the Year
3. Large Hotel of the Year
4. Camping, Glamping and Holiday Park of the Year
5. Self-Catering Accommodation of the Year
6. Small Visitor Attraction of the Year
7. Large Visitor Attraction of the Year
8. Pub of the Year
9. Experience of the Year
10. New Tourism Business Award
11. Taste of England Award
12. Accessible and Inclusive Tourism Award
13. Business Events Venue of the Year
14. Ethical, Responsible and Sustainable Tourism Award
15. International Tourism Award