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Which categories?

Here is a short description of the awards categories for 2016; please note that there are many new categories and some changes to existing ones so please do check here to make sure that you fulfil the criteria.  There may well be more than one category you are eligible to enter. 

The customer service award entries are slightly different in that they can come from staff, the individual, third parties or customers.

Please note that some of the Awards are not being run by VisitEngland eg Cafe, Restaurant, Event, TIC, Customer Service and Experience, as such the winners in these awards will not automatically qualify to go through to the national awards, this also applies if you have won a Gold Award in the VisitEngland Awards this year.  VisitEngland will be running several different awards to be announced later in the year that you may be able to enter direct, more information will be available in due course here www.visitenglandawards.org.

If you have entered one of the categories that is aligned with VisitEngland, and you are one of the finalists that go through to the national awards, your entry form and mystery shop report will be shared with VisitEngland.  Receipt of your entry is taken as agreement to this requirement.

Access and Inclusivity Award Any tourism business that excels in being accessible and inclusive, and can demonstrate exceptional customer service to all, particularly those with impairments and other access needs ie mobility, auditory, sensory or dietary should enter.

Active and Sporting Experience Award Tourism businesses that can demonstrate that they have gone the extra mile to deliver an outstanding and innovative active and sporting experience eg surf schools, coasteering, climbing, kite surfing.

Artistic, Cultural and Learning Experience Award (inc guided tours) Tourism businesses that can demonstrate that they have gone the extra mile to deliver an outstanding and innovative artistic, cultural and learning experience eg art schools, cookery schools, guided tours, interpretation tours etc.

Bed & Breakfast of the Year  To enter this award your business must offer exceptional standards of service and an outstanding, memorable experience; have no more than 10 guest bedrooms; offer an excellent breakfast; the owners must live on site; and the business should be referred to in marketing as a ‘bed and breakfast’ establishment.

Café/Tearoom of the Year This award is open to cafés/tearooms that provide great service and serve excellent food from local/regional suppliers.  Businesses must be committed to sourcing produce locally and communicating this to visitors.  Entrants may consider this category, or the separate categories of Restaurant or Tourism Pub, but should choose the category that best matches their business and only enter in one. 

Camping and Caravanning Park of the Year This category is for camping and caravanning parks that have a significant proportion of touring pitches and that can demonstrate exceptional customer service and offer an outstanding experience for visitors.   If your main accommodation offer is Glamping you should enter the new Glamping category.

Dog Friendly Business of the Year Any tourism business eg accommodation, attractions etc that offer the very best experience to dogs – and their human companions, should enter this category.

Glamping Business of the Year For businesses where Glamping is the main accommodation offer - not an add-on to a campsite or holiday park - who offer an outstanding experience for guests. 

Hotel of the Year   Country House, Luxury, City and Business Hotels and larger Boutique Hotels offering full service (ie a minimum of Reception, Bar, Dinner and Breakfast plus probably lunch).  Probably a larger establishment with more than 20 to 25 rooms. If you have between 20 and 25 rooms you can choose which category you wish to enter; this one or the alternative ‘Small Hotel, Boutique & Guest Accommodation’ category. Entrants should offer a very high standard of accommodation and excellent customer service.

International Visitor Experience All sectors of the tourism industry can apply if they can demonstrate that they have gone the extra mile to deliver an outstanding experience for international visitors eg visitor attractions, accommodation, business/convention centres, language schools or activity providers.  The category is intended for businesses that are targeting international visitors as a substantive proportion of their overall business – probably in excess of 10% - and targeting growth in this.  More importantly, it is for businesses that are offering international visitors an outstanding experience through digital communications, well trained staff and suitable facilities.

Large Visitor Attraction of the Year This category is for visitor attractions with more than 75,000 visitors a year, including those that offer pre-booked tickets, museums and galleries, churches and cathedrals, interpretation centres, theme parks, historic houses, gardens, country parks, heritage railways and castles. 

Park, Holiday Village and Resort of the Year For parks, villages and resorts, likely to have a mix of units and pitches, statics and/or chalets with touring pitches (if any) in the minority.  Likely to have leisure and food and drink outlets on site.  They should be able to demonstrate exceptional customer service and offer an outstanding experience for visitors.   If your main accommodation offer is Glamping you should enter this category.

Restaurant/Bistro of the Year This award is open to restaurants that provide great service and serve excellent food from local/regional suppliers.  Entrants may consider this category, or the separate categories of Cafe/Tearoom or Tourism Pub, but should choose the category that best matches their business and only enter in one.

Self Catering Holiday Provider of the Year Self-catering accommodation, serviced apartments and flats that are of an excellent standard and offer exceptional customer service should enter.  This award is for two or more properties at one location that may or may not be marketed by an agency.  If your main business is Glamping you should enter that category instead.  

Self Catering Property of the Year Self-catering accommodation, serviced apartments and flats that are of an excellent standard and offer exceptional customer service should enter.  This award is for one property that may or may not be marketed by an agency.  If your main business is Glamping you should enter that category instead.

Small Hotel, Boutique & Guest Accommodation of the Year   Guest Houses, Inns, Hotels offering partial service and Restaurants with Rooms offering an outstanding, memorable stay and service.  Dinner, afternoon tea or room service may be offered on occasions, but probably not full service.  Probably a smaller establishment with fewer than 20 to 25 rooms, though may be larger than this if offering few services. If you have between 20 and 25 rooms you can choose which category you wish to enter; this one or the alternative ‘Hotel’ category. (Bed and Breakfast accommodation should normally enter the separate Bed & Breakfast category).

Small Visitor Attraction of the Year This category is for visitor attractions with less than 75,000 visitors a year and/or fewer than 10 full-time equivalent paid staff, including those that offer pre-booked tickets, museums and galleries, churches and cathedrals, interpretation centres, theme parks, historic houses, gardens, country parks, heritage railways and castles. 

Spa and Wellbeing Experience Award Tourism businesses that can demonstrate that they have gone the extra mile to deliver an outstanding and innovative Spa or Wellbeing Experience eg spas, health retreats, etc whether standalone or part of another business.

Sustainable Tourism Award Any tourism business that demonstrates proven commitment to sustainable best practice.  Awards and accreditations for sustainability practices will be taken into consideration by the judges as well as the overall quality of experience provided.

Tourism Event and Festival of the Year Events could include festivals, fairs, carnivals, shows or celebrations.  They can be paid entry or free but should demonstrate innovation, distinctiveness and should make a significant contribution to the economy of a destination eg attendance/participation figures likely to be in excess of 5,000 visitors. The event could be a one off or a rolling series of annual events. 

Tourism Pub of the Year This category is for pubs that provide brilliant customer service and offer great locally sourced food and drink to tourists and locals, in authentic surroundings.  They should attract a significant amount of visitors from out of the local area.  Entrants may consider this category, or the separate categories of Cafe/Tearoom or Restaurant/Bistro but should choose the category that best matches their business and only enter in one.

Tourist Information Service of the Year Tourist Information providers that offer all visitors an excellent standard of customer service and appropriate information.  This should be done through face to face contact as well as utilising information technology but must include responding to individual enquiries.

Unsung Hero for Customer Service Individuals from the tourist industry that continually go above and beyond, offering exceptional customer service to visitors, should enter this award. They may be nominated by another member of staff, a member of the public, or by themselves. They may be volunteers or paid members of staff.

Venue and Business Tourism Award This award is open to any organisation that excels in the business tourism sector eg exhibition centres, hotels, conference, wedding and banqueting venues, convention bureaux and destination organisations. 

Wildlife Friendly Tourism Business Award A different type of category to most, in that it is judged more on how businesses look after wildlife than human customers!  Entrants must demonstrate proven commitment to best practice in protecting and enhancing Cornwall’s wildlife. All sectors of the tourism industry are eligible to enter though they must have direct interaction with visitors rather than purely be a supplier. Entrants must demonstrate proven commitment to best practice in protecting and enhancing Cornwall’s wildlife.