STAFFORDSHIRE’S tourism and hospitality businesses are set for a boost with the launch of the 2019 Enjoy Staffordshire Tourism & Good Food Awards.
The awards are now open, with three brand new categories and an online platform making it easier to apply.
In all, there are 19 prestigious accolades, including B&B and Guest House of the Year, Small Hotel of the Year, and Large Visitor Attraction of the Year.
For the first time, businesses from across Staffordshire will be able to apply for Experience of the Year, the New Tourism Business Award, and the International Tourism Award.
There will also be four food & drink categories, after the Taste of Staffordshire Good Food Awards were incorporated into the competition. They are Independent Restaurant of the Year, Casual Dining Restaurant of the Year, Tea Room/Coffee Shop of the Year and Farm Shop/Food & Drink Retailer of the Year.
Mark Winnington, cabinet member for Economic Growth at Staffordshire County Council and Deputy Chair of Destination Staffordshire said: “Tourism is really booming here in Staffordshire and plays an important role in our overall economy.
“Our local tourism businesses continue to do a great job, attracting more and more visitors, bringing in over £100m a month for the local economy and sustaining tens of thousands of jobs.
“We’re very excited about the new-look awards, and with even more categories and a quick and easy to enter online form, they give us a great opportunity to showcase and celebrate with all our tourism businesses. Winners also go forward to the national VisitEngland Awards for Excellence where they’ll represent Staffordshire and take on some of the country’s top tourism businesses.”
All entries must be submitted online, before 28th June, using a new VisitEngland platform which has been created to simplify the process and introduce a new standardised, nationwide application form for each category.
Businesses will no longer be able to apply directly to the national VisitEngland Awards for Excellence, so the only way to qualify is through one of the 18 regionalised competitions.
VisitEngland Chief Executive Sally Balcombe said: “The tourism landscape in England is continuously evolving with visitors using technology to personalise the products they choose and our Awards must keep up with the aspirations of tourists.
“The new VisitEngland Awards for Excellence have been redesigned, refreshed and streamlined to better reflect today’s tourism landscape. They also adhere to the guiding principles of the awards, recognising and rewarding the outstanding quality and standards thriving at the heart of our industry.”
The awards are free to enter for Enjoy Staffordshire members, or £100+VAT for non-members, and all applications must be submitted before 5pm on 28th June 2019.
Details of all the categories and how to apply are available at https://www.enjoystaffordshire.com/trade/what-we-do/tourism-awards