Please note the 2023/24 Awards are now closed for entry, the details below are for information only
For your information:
- We may merge or split categories depending on entries.
- We also reserve the right to move an entry into a different category should we consider it a better fit, however we will consult with you before doing this.
- Entries will only be accepted from businesses that meet current and relevant Legal and Licensing Compliance. The judges reserve the right to decline an entry if in their opinion this cannot be confirmed.
- Businesses that serve food must have a minimum food hygiene rating of three out of five. We reserve the right to refuse an application if this minimum requirement is not met at any point prior to the awards ceremony. An exception is made for new businesses who have not yet been graded.
- Businesses that have been trading for at least three months and up to two years when applications open are strongly recommended to apply to the New Tourism Business of the Year category before considering applying to any other categories.
- All entries must be submitted via the online portal, entry forms will not be accepted via email or any other format.
- Winners in all categories (except Age Friendly) will automatically be 'fast-tracked' into corresponding categories of the South West Tourism Excellence Awards. From these, winners in categories marked VE may be selected to represent the area in the national VisitEngland Awards. You will see in brackets that some categories in the Visit England Awards are merged together.
Unsung Hero Award (VE), sponsored by Age UK Somerset
Recognises an individual working for a tourism business who excels in their role and deserves to be applauded for their work and commitment to the industry. They will:
- be an individual rather than a team.
- nominated by a colleague or by a local awards competition judge.
- demonstrate commitment, passion and enthusiasm for their work and the tourism industry; exceeding expectations and inspiring their colleagues.
- work in any area of the business; does not need to be in a customer-facing job role.
- be unlikely to be a business owner or a senior manager.
- or may be new to the tourism industry or have worked in the industry for some time.
Outstanding Contribution to Tourism Award
This award, which is not always presented, is for an individual, group or organisation that has made a significant contribution to the tourism industry in the area. It could be someone who has represented the region in a voluntary role, a visionary who has effected major change, a sector that supports the industry in some way or perhaps someone who has made a significant difference to large numbers of people working in the industry. This award is open to third party nominations (ie not self-nomination) including nominations from judges, the judging panel and the general public. There are no entry forms for the Outstanding Contribution award; nominations with supporting evidence should be sent to email@example.com by the closing date.
Accessible and Inclusive Tourism Award (VE), sponsored by Visit West
Recognises tourism businesses that excel in providing an inclusive customer experience, particularly for those with accessibility requirements.
Age Friendly Tourism Business of the Year, sponsored by Age UK Somerset
Local charity Age UK Somerset has been helping to make life better for older people since 1948! This Award recognises and celebrates those tourism businesses, attractions, experiences, cafes and restaurants who have considered the needs of older visitors and go out of their way to create a positive experience for those in later life.
Dog Friendly Business of the Year, sponsored by Barrington Associates
Recognises providers of truly memorable experiences for dogs and their human companions.
Ethical, Responsible and Sustainable Tourism Award (VE), sponsored by Orchid
Recognises tourism businesses from across the visitor economy who are truly committed to being sustainable, responsible and ethical in how they operate and interact with customers, the wider community and the environment.
New Tourism Business Award (VE), sponsored by Stephens Scown
Recognises high performing new tourism businesses, demonstrating excellent understanding of their market, exceeding the expectations of their customers with clear plans for future development.
Business Events Venue of the Year (VE), sponsored by Bristol Airport
Recognises business events venues that demonstrate an excellent understanding of the market, exceed the expectations of their clients and have a strategic plan for future development within this area, with clear goals.
Tourism Event/Festival of the Year, sponsored by What's On Somerset
Recognises providers of truly memorable and immersive tourism events and festivals that are making a contribution to the visitor economy with a significant proportion of business generated by people visiting from outside the local area. Events could include festivals, fairs, carnivals, shows or celebrations. They can be paid entry or free but should demonstrate innovation and distinctiveness. The event must take place between 1 Sept 2022 and 31 Aug 2023.
Visitor Information Service of the Year, sponsored by Touch Stay
This award is for visitor information providers that offer an exceptional standard of service and appropriate information. This should be done through face to face contact as well as utilising social media and information technology but must include responding to individual enquiries rather than just information provision.
Wedding Venue of the Year, sponsored by Quality in Tourism
Recognises wedding venues that attract visitors to the region and demonstrate an excellent understanding of the market, exceeding the expectations of their clients.
B&B and Guest House of the Year (VE)
Recognises bed & breakfast and guest house businesses that provide a fabulous service and create great memories for their guests.
Camping & Caravanning Park of the Year (VE Camping, Glamping and Holiday Park of the Year), sponsored by Anytime Booking
Recognises camping & caravanning parks that provide exceptional guest experiences across static vans, touring pitches, campsites and more.
Glamping Business of the Year (VE Camping, Glamping and Holiday Park of the Year), sponsored by Anytime Booking
Recognises glamping businesses that provide exceptional guest experiences across, glamping pods, shepherd's huts and more.
Holiday Park of the Year (VE Camping, Glamping & Holiday Park of the Year), sponsored by Tozers
Recognises holiday parks, sites and villages that provide exceptional guest experiences.
Large Hotel of the Year (VE), sponsored by Guestline
Recognises large full-service hotels that provide exemplary service, a top-quality food offering and a stay that guests will remember for years to come.
Self Catering Accommodation of the Year (VE), sponsored by Booking.Com
Recognises self catering accommodation businesses that provide the highest quality holidays and help to create fabulous memories for all their guests, from romantic hideaways to family-friendly breaks. This category is for businesses whose main offer is self catering accommodation including cottages, houses, historic properties (or part thereof), holiday boats, barn conversions, hostels, apartments and serviced apartments etc. A business with multiple properties across different locations is not eligible to apply in its entirety. This includes agencies. However, an application may be completed for a specific location (on a single site) if it is clearly identified within any marketing e.g. website. Large self catering accommodation complexes (eg with chalets and lodges) with a range of facilities and activities should apply for the Glamping or Holiday Park of the Year as appropriate.
Small Hotel of the Year (VE)
Recognises small to medium serviced accommodation businesses that offer a fantastic welcome, memorable guest experiences and the highest standards in everything they do. (Usually offers between 12 and 35 bedrooms. However, serviced accommodation businesses with fewer than 12 or more than 35 bedrooms can apply if they consider themselves appropriate for this category).
Experience of the Year (Active or Learning) (VE)
Recognises providers of memorable and immersive activities for visitors to participate in, from cooking masterclasses to woodland nature tours, each application must relate to one named experience only.
Large Visitor Attraction of the Year (VE), sponsored by Albert Goodman Chartered Accountants
Recognises large visitor attractions that provide truly memorable visitor experiences and demonstrate excellence across every aspect of the business.(Attracts 75,000 visitors or more per year or employs more than 10 full-time equivalent members of staff).
Small Visitor Attraction of the Year (VE)
Recognises small visitor attractions that leave visitors with lasting memories and excel in customer service. (Attracts 75,000 visitors or fewer per year or employs 10 or fewer full-time equivalent members of staff).
Spa and Wellbeing Experience of the Year (VE), sponsored by Somerset Life
Recognises providers of memorable and immersive experiences or activities for visitors to participate in. Entries are welcome from spas, yoga breaks, health retreats, etc whether standalone or part of another business, each application must relate to one named experience only.
Café/Tearoom of the Year (VE Taste of England), sponsored by Sunflower Social Media
Recognises businesses within the tourism industry that offer outstanding cuisine, innovative service and excellence throughout their entire operation. Food service businesses including cafés, tea rooms, coffee shops.
Casual Dining Award (VE Taste of England)
Recognises businesses within the tourism industry that offer outstanding cuisine, innovative service and excellence throughout their entire operation. Food service businesses including bistro, diner, pizza restaurant, fish and chip restaurant, grill etc.
Pub of the Year (VE), sponsored by Thatchers
Recognises pubs that make a significant contribution to tourism in their area, with a food and drink offering that includes quality locally sourced produce.
Restaurant of the Year (VE Taste of England), sponsored by Somerset Distillery
Recognises businesses within the tourism industry that offer outstanding cuisine, innovative service and excellence throughout their entire operation.