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Awards Update - 21st July 2020

As more of our tourism businesses are now able to open their doors and welcome visitors once again, we’re pleased to confirm revised details for this year’s Tourism Awards.

During these unprecedented months since launch, the awards have remained open ‘in the background’ whilst everyone’s top priority has quite rightly been people’s lives and the future of businesses and staff.  Below are details of some important changes for this year:

Deadline date:  We can now confirm that the FINAL deadline date to submit entries is 20th September 2020.  As before, all entries must be submitted via our online portal, and must be received by the deadline date – please don’t leave your entry to the last minute as it won’t be possible to grant further extensions.  If you have already submitted your entry but need to update your answers, you can still access your form to amend the information, but only until 23rd August 2020, when judging will commence for submitted entries.

Categories:  In line with our Terms & Conditions, our judging panel are likely to combine some categories together for this year and may have to drop some, but please continue to enter the categories that are most closely matched to your business, following the definitions – if in doubt, please just get in touch for guidance.

New Category: In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the unprecedented impact it has had on our industry, we are working with VisitEngland (VE) on celebrating and recognising businesses and individuals working in tourism who have demonstrated great innovation, resilience, adaptation, and compassion within the tourism industry and/or the wider community during the COVID-19 crisis. This will be in the form of a brand new category within our competitions, where you’ll be able to send in nominations using our online portal. We’re working closely with VE and other regions on this at the moment, full details will be published here as soon as they are finalised.

Judging:  Surveys of past entrants shows us the feedback and PR you receive as part of the awards process forms an important part of business improvement and growth plans; every entrant will again receive a report from one of our expert, independent judges who will review the information submitted together with websites, social media pages and review sites, and provide at least three ideas to help improve your business.  Part of our judging has historically involved visiting a selection of entrants, this year our team of judges will instead make contact ‘remotely’ to ensure all judging is safe, efficient and robust. (We are determined to neither increase risk to anyone nor displace any fee-paying customers at this difficult time).

Events: We’ll have a brand new format to celebrate our winners for 2020/2021.  We’re looking to announce finalists in January 2021, at which time we’ll be able to confirm the plans bearing in mind Government guidelines at that time and respecting everyone’s time and budgetary considerations in this unique year. Whatever format we adopt we will ensure that Finalists benefit from the essential media profile, logos and feedback.

VisitEngland:  In past years, a number of our overall South West winners have subsequently been put forward to the VisitEngland national awards; in view of their re-focus for this year (as outlined above) and the fact that many other regions have had to abandon their awards only those winners of the new category will be put forward for national recognition.  In parallel, revised details are also being finalised to recognise the national winners for 2019/20, this will include a ‘virtual’ ceremony in August - plans and timescales are being forwarded to those nominated this month.

In this period of unprecedented challenge and change – what’s not changing is our commitment to excellence, celebrating our fantastic tourism businesses and providing feedback to help you improve still further.  Our sponsors are keen to help too, and there will be options to engage with them as we move through the year.  We really hope you’ll be able to take part in the Awards program, and very much look forward to receiving your entries.  As we know you’ll appreciate, details will undoubtedly continue to evolve over time, but if you’ve any questions or need any more information please get in touch.