Awards highlight Norfolk’s tourism heroes

The EDP and Visit Norfolk Tourism Awards. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The EDP and Visit Norfolk Tourism Awards. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2014

Shining examples of excellence in Norfolk's tourism industry were unveiled last night at a black tie awards dinner.

Now in its 10th year, the EDP/VisitNorfolk Tourism Awards put a spotlight on deserving businesses and individuals right across the county.

Guests at the Holiday Inn Norwich North – a perfect venue sponsored by the Paul Robinson Partnership – were guided through the evening by BBC presenter host David Whiteley.

This year's winner of the coveted Outstanding Achievement Award, sponsored by Hoseasons, was Barbara Greasley, a tireless servant of Broads Tourism.

The business she runs with her husband Paul, Norfolk Broads Direct, has been in the vanguard of dramatic change in the hire boat industry, with huge investment in new luxury boats.

Barbara has personally championed the move towards eco-friendly boating and her company was the first hire boat firm to receive the prestigious green boat mark.

For three years – only stepping down in the summer – she was also an energetic and innovative chairman of Broads Tourism.

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Managing director of Hoseasons lead sponsor of the awards, Simon Altham, who introduced the award, said: 'Barbara has been a shining light in the county's tourism industry and in the year when she stood down from her role as chair of Broads Tourism this is a fitting tribute. As always we look for the things that people do beyond their day job and the impact they have on the industry sector within the county, and her passion for Norfolk, holidays on the Broads and boating shines through for all to see.'

Bob Crawley, engagement director at EDP publisher Archant, said it was the hard work of people in the industry that was helping to put Norfolk on the map as a holiday hotspot.

'What really makes Norfolk's tourism offering so special to those that travel from afar to visit, or those that simply travel a few miles from their Norfolk homes, are the people and businesses in this room tonight, the people who are at the heart of creating magic memories,' he said.

'Those magic memories translate to a balance sheet that makes tourism the biggest industry sector in Norfolk – worth a staggering £2.8bn and providing employment for more than 54,000 people.'

Guests at the celebration dinner also stood to applaud and honour the achievements of Brian Potter MBE, chairman of Potters Resort, Hopton, who died earlier this month.

Mr Altham said: 'Brian Potter, winner of the first Outstanding Achievement Award 10 years ago, was a truly exceptional leader who not only put Norfolk on the international map but who gave so much of his own time for the greater good in promoting our county.

'Brian will be missed by so many who loved him dearly – but his legacy lives on, and never more so at an evening celebrating the crème de la crème of the tourism industry within the county.'