Awards for Excellence 2016 finalists announced

VisitEngland has released the list of frontrunners ahead of its Awards for Excellence taking place on March 8 at Blackpool’s Winter Gardens.

The 16 categories range from Visitor Information Provider of the Year, to Dog Friendly Business of the Year.

Applications were received from hotels, B&Bs, glamping operators, restaurants, food and drink producers, pubs, museums, festivals, conference centres and even motorway service areas.

Chief executive of VisitBritain and VisitEngland Sally Balcombe said: “Awards for Excellence finalists exemplify outstanding tourism talent and distinguished businesses throughout England.

“Our Awards highlight exceptional commitment to quality care, service and English tourism as a whole. The awards not only honour the great and the good in tourism and hospitality, but raise the profile of England and celebrate the importance of the industry’s contribution to local and national economies.

“We received some truly impressive applications this year and shortlisting 80 finalists has been a tough feat, involving a team of mystery shoppers and even two dogs testing dog-friendly businesses

“There’s absolutely no doubt those chosen are representative of the best in the industry who place delivering an unforgettable experience to visitors in England at the heart of their business operations. Working collaboratively, we are inspiring and motivating businesses to provide the highest standards.”

The awards will be judged by industry leaders, with all finalists receiving a Gold, Silver, Bronze or Highly Commended award.

The winners will be announced at the ceremony, which is being held for the very first time this year during English Tourism Week. The Awards ceremony will also include the official presentation of the VisitEngland and Daily Mirror’s Tourism Superstar 2016 Award for the nation’s publically voted unsung tourism hero.