Forget Lord Sugar and his Apprentice – the search to find the region’s tourism superstars begins in earnest this month, as Visit Heart of England, the region’s tourism organisation, launch the Heart of England Excellence in Tourism Awards.
The Excellence Awards will recognise quality and reward the ‘best of the best’ in regional tourism across 16 categories- Access for All, B&B/Guest Accommodation, Business Tourism, Caravan/Holiday Park, Large Hotel, Large Visitor Attraction, Self Catering, Small Hotel, Small Visitor Attraction, Sustainable Tourism, Taste of the Heart, Eat in the Heart, Tourism Experience, Tourism Pub, Visitor Information Provider and Tourism Event of the Year.
Supported by VisitEngland – the national tourist board, and the Heart of England Attractions Group – an association of the region’s top 16 leading attractions, the 2013 Awards are open to all 2,500 plus tourism businesses in the region – Birmingham/Black Country/Solihull, Staffordshire, Shropshire, Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Warwickshire, with winners and up to three finalists in each national category going through to the prestigious ‘VisitEngland Awards for Excellence’ in 2014.
Businesses in Staffordshire and Shropshire have a double chance to win – both locally and regionally, and potentially go through to the national awards. To be automatically entered in the regional awards, tourism organisations in Staffordshire must be entered in the appropriate Enjoy Staffordshire Tourism Awards 2013 category, while those in Shropshire must be an entrant in the eligible category of the Shropshire Star Tourism & Leisure Awards 2013.
Sam Warnock, Tourism Marketing Director at Visit Heart of England, said: “We are delighted to be working with VisitEngland, the regional Attractions Group and our two local awards organisers in Staffordshire and Shropshire to deliver the Heart of England Excellence in Tourism Awards. These Awards will ensure we profile the excellent tourism product we have in the region, and give regional exposure to those organisations who deliver a first class product to our visitors.”
Peter Suddock, Chairman of the Key Attractions Group, and who will chair the regional judging panel, added: “We wholeheartedly support the return of these regional tourism awards which are an excellent way to highlight the quality tourism product of the region.
“I look forward to seeing the undoubtedly high quality submissions we will receive. It will not be an easy job deciding who wins, and who goes through to represent the region in the national VisitEngland ‘Awards for Excellence’ in 2014.”
Category application forms, entry criteria, guidance notes, and the latest news on the Awards for entrants to the Heart of England Excellence in Tourism Awards are available by going to www.visitheartofengland.com/excellence. The closing date for applications will be Noon on Friday September 6, 2103.
Judging will take place during September with finalists being notified in early October. The Awards ceremony will take place on Thursday November 14, 2013.