It’s time to celebrate tourism in the East

The High Street in Southwold on a busy summers day in August.Picture: James Bass

Tourism is a sector that’s close to all our hearts, so let’s celebrate it at the East of England Tourism Awards Picture: James Bass - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2016

We all need time to escape and, thanks to our local tourism businesses, we’ve got everything we need to do just that right on our doorstep. That's why the East of England Tourism Awards is the perfect opportunity to celebrate this resilient and imaginative sector – and entries are open now! 

The East of England Tourism Awards is an opportunity to recognise, celebrate and support those businesses and individuals from across the East of England that have shown resilience, imagination and growth within a sector which is close to all of our hearts and lives.  

This year’s re-invigorated awards are brought to you in association with Visit East of England, and have been made possible by a range of sponsors, led by our headline partner, Hoseasons.  

Tourism businesses operating across Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex and Cambridgeshire are invited to enter one of our 15 categories (see the list below), with entries closing at midnight on Sunday, October 3. Shortlisted finalists will go through a judging process, which may include a site visit, before being announced on Saturday, January 15, 2022. 

A glittering black-tie event will then take place at Imperial War Museum Duxford, Cambridgeshire, on Thursday, February 24, 2022, marking the celebration of those who have grappled with a year of change, challenge and new opportunities.  

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The industry will come together to shine a light on those finalists and celebrate those who are crowned winners of their category. 

The East of England Tourism Awards is a gathering of the very communities, businesses and people that help to put our counties on the map, and we extend our thanks to all our sponsors who have made this award programme possible.  

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Entries will be welcomed from businesses, and but we also urge you to nominate your favourite tourism businesses across the East of England, be that your favourite hotel, an amazing attraction, or incredible customer service – view our full list of categories and nominate now. 

Nominate your favourites or submit an entry for your business by midnight on Sunday, October 3 to ensure the very best of tourism businesses in the East of England are recognised. 

Andy Wood OBE, chairman of Visit East of England

Andy Wood OBE, chairman of Visit East of England - Credit: Visit East of England

‘If ever we needed to come together, then now is the time’ 

Andy Wood OBE, chairman of Visit East of England, explains why now is the time for the tourism industry to come together and celebrate at the East of England Tourism Awards, and how the winners will also have the chance to be recognised at the national VisitEngland Awards for Excellence

After the last year of a pandemic, lockdowns and a torrid time for the region’s largest industry and biggest employer, our visitor economy needs to be championed and celebrated again – and that’s what the East of England Tourism Awards are all about.  

With businesses closed or limiting numbers when they have been allowed to open, there’s not been a lot to smile about. 2019 was a record year in this region for staying visitors, day trippers, number of jobs and value of the sector. We’ll want to erase 2020 from the annals.  

Covid-19 struck and we were left in a fog of confusion and uncertainty. Government support was invaluable. But it is also down to the fortitude, innovation, ingenuity and the hard work of our tourism businesses that we are safely re-opening again.   

That was the biggest frustration: not being able to welcome customers to enjoy our fantastic tourism offering, our theme parks and zoos, accommodation, restaurants and pubs and, of course, our superb culture and heritage attractions.   

Working with Archant and sponsors Hoseasons, we want to recognise all these things in our brilliant sector.  

There are two very exciting changes to this year’s tourism awards.  

Firstly, they are bigger than ever – encompassing businesses across Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex and Cambridgeshire.  

And secondly, we are now fully-aligned with the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence, which means that all our winners will go forward to the national finals and potentially triumph as the best in the country.  

VisitEngland director Andrew Stokes said: “It is great news that the East of England Tourism Awards 2021 are aligned with the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence 2021/22. We wish all tourism businesses from across Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex and Cambridgeshire the best of luck and look forward to finding out who the winners are and seeing them seize the opportunity to compete nationally.” 

The 2021 East of England Tourism Awards are a fantastic opportunity to start putting the pandemic behind us, start looking forward again, and to celebrate all that is great about our exceptional industry. If ever we needed to come together, then now is the time. And these awards are the perfect chance to do that. 

East of England Tourism Awards categories 

  • Unsung Hero Award - sponsored by Hoseasons 
  • Customer Excellence Award – sponsored by Swiss Camplings 
  • Experience of the Year - sponsored by insight6 
  • Large Hotel of the Year – sponsored by Ensors 
  • Large Visitor Attraction of the Year - sponsored by KNP
  • Marketing Campaign of the Year - sponsored by Pear Communications 
  • New Tourism Business of the Year - sponsored by Larking Gowen 
  • Pub of the Year - sponsored by Everard Cole 
  • Resilience and Innovation Award - sponsored by Howes Percival 
  • Camping, Glamping, Holiday Park and Self Catering Accommodation of the Year - sponsored by 
  • Small Hotel of the Year - sponsored by John Doe 
  • Small Visitor Attraction of the Year - sponsored by Norfolk & Suffolk Tourist Attractions 
  • Taste of East of England Award - sponsored by Adnams 
  •  Ethical, Responsible and Sustainable Tourism Award - sponsored by Biffa 
  • B&B and Guest House of the Year - sponsored by Tiptree 

Enter the East of England Tourism Awards now at 

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