Last chance to enter the East of England Tourism Awards

The team from the National Horse Racing Museum being presented with the Small Visitor Attraction Award

Jodie Mellor (second from left) and Anne Marie Hogan (third form left) from the National Horse Racing Museum, being presented with the Small Visitor Attraction Award by Judy Randon (left) from sponsor insight6 and Martin Dupee from sponsor Norfolk & Suffolk Tourist Attractions - Credit: I DO PHOTOGRAPHY

The deadline to enter the East of England Tourism Awards is fast approaching, but there’s still time to nominate to ensure that the very best of this region’s tourism industry is recognised.

After an extraordinary year for tourism across the globe, the East of England Tourism Awards 2021 is aiming to recognise and celebrate those businesses and individuals within the region that have gone above and beyond to tackle the challenges of the last 18 months.

This year’s tourism awards are bigger than ever, giving businesses across Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex and Cambridgeshire a chance to shine. In addition to this, the awards are now affiliated with the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence, so the winner and top two finalists in each Visit England aligned category will go forward to the national finals to potentially be crowned the best in the country.

While entries are welcomed from businesses, the awards also encourage you to nominate your favourite tourism business in the region, be that an unforgettable attraction, welcoming hotel or holiday park, or a business offering fantastic food and service.

Pete Waters, executive director of Visit East of England says: “After a tumultuous last 18 months, the recovery has begun and the East of England Tourism Awards are a great opportunity to highlight the resilience and dynamism of our superb visitor economy businesses.

“The way the sector has bounced back from the national pandemic has been incredible, and the awards are a fabulous chance to celebrate that.

“As well as championing the sector, let’s not forget that winners go through to the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence, so there is also the potential of significant national exposure as well.”

National Horse Racing Museum

Staff and volunteers from the National Horse Racing Museum celebrating being able to reopen in May following the lockdown - Credit: National Horse Racing Museum

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The National Horse Racing Museum in Newmarket won Small Visitor Attraction of the Year last year and says that the award helped give the business a huge boost during an especially difficult period.

“The recognition was great for awareness and for staff morale. It gave a lift to everyone connected to the organisation: staff, trustees and volunteers. It was a reward for everyone’s hard work,” says Gary Atyes, commercial director.

“It's something else to shout about and in a year when staycations were so key to attracting footfall it helped us attract more visitors when we re-opened.”

For those considering entering this year, Gary says: “Do it! With difficult trading for all attractions, it can help give you the edge. We all need to stand out and an award like this can help in a big way.”

But how can you make sure that your entry is the best that it can be? “Involve all your senior staff. Make everyone feel engaged with your entry,” says Gary. “This makes sure that when you are putting it together you leave no element out.

“You need to be thorough and make your entry stand out from the crowd. It takes work but it will be worth the time.”

You have until midnight on October 3 to get your entries in for the East of England Tourism Awards. After this, shortlisted finalists will go through a thorough judging process, before being announced on January 15, 2022. The celebration event will take place at the Imperial War Museum Duxford, Cambridgeshire, on Thursday, February 24, 2022. To find out more about the categories and to enter, go to www.tourismawards.co.uk

East of England Tourism Awards Categories

Unsung Hero Award – sponsored by Hoseasons

B&B and Guest House of the Year – sponsored by Tiptree

Camping, Glamping, Holiday Park and Self Catering Accommodation of the Year – sponsored by cottages.com

Customer Excellence Award – sponsored by Swiss Camplings

Ethical, Responsible & Sustainable Tourism Award – sponsored by Biffa

Experience of the Year – sponsored by insight6

Large Hotel of the Year – sponsored by Ensors Chartered Accountants

Large Visitor Attraction of the Year – sponsored by KNP

Marketing Campaign of the Year – sponsored by Pear Communications

New Tourism Business of the Year – sponsored by Larking Gowen

Pub of the Year – sponsored by Everard Cole

Resilience and Innovation Award – sponsored by Howes Percival

Small Hotel of the Year – sponsored by John Doe Carpets & Furniture

Small Visitor Attraction of the Year – sponsored by Norfolk & Suffolk Tourist Attractions

Taste of East of England Award – sponsored by Adnams

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