Applications are open for the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence, celebrating the best of English tourism, with three new categories announced for 2017.
The awards, now in their 28th year, recognise businesses and individuals that offer exceptional products and customer service. This year will see ‘Family Friendly Business of the Year', ‘GREAT China Welcome of the Year' and ‘Afternoon Tea of the Year' added to the list of 16 core categories including hotel, boutique/guest accommodation and bed and breakfast.
The endorsement of ‘family friendly' businesses comes after VisitEngland's 2015 Great Britain Tourism Survey found that families with children accounted for almost 40% of all domestic holidays last year. The ‘GREAT China Welcome of the Year' award has been added after VisitBritain's GREAT China Welcome programme which aims to make Britain the destination of choice for the rapidly-growing Chinese market by helping local businesses adapt their products for Chinese visitors. Visits from China were up almost 50% to 270,000 in 2015, and spend was up 18% to £586m, moving China into the UK's top 10 most valuable inbound markets for the first time.
VisitEngland director Patricia Yates said: "These awards are a celebration of the outstanding tourism products and services on offer across England's regions, from the local B&B that goes above and beyond for its guests to the restaurant that offers a world-class dining experience.
"The three new categories reflect the importance of delivering the right products to the right customers at the right time, whether that means appealing to visitors from China, catering to young families or delivering an excellent, quintessentially English afternoon tea."
Most applications for the 2017 Awards will be accepted until mid-October, some categories earlier. Shortlisted businesses will be visited by judges between October to February and finalists will be announced in March, with the awards ceremony set to take place in April 2017.
The categories for the 2017 awards also include:
• Business Tourism Award
• Dog Friendly Business of the Year
• Inclusive Tourism Award
• Taste of England Award
• Tourism Pub of the Year
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