Rallying call to enter EDP Tourism Awards

Wroxham Barns' owner Ian Russell. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Wroxham Barns' owner Ian Russell. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

A rallying call for businesses to enter the EDP/Visit Norfolk Tourism Awards has been made by one of the region's most influential tourism leaders.

With the July 31 deadline for nominations looming, Ian Russell, the boss of Wroxham Barns and a multi-award winner himself, said tourism operators had so much to gain from entering.

He said: 'To be judged as a winner or a runner-up in the EDP is very important as the resident population is crucial to tourism in Norfolk.'

Putting youself up to be judged by your peers was tough but valuable - 'one of the cheapest bits of business training there is'.

He said: 'The process of self-audit is immensely valuable; to explain why you think you are as good as you say you are.'

After a positive start to the year, helped by favourable weather at Easter and the May bank holidays, Norfolk's £2.7bn tourism industry is on course for a good year.

Even after a record year in 2013, Mr Russell said his crafts, food and retail centre in Tunstead Road, Hoveton, was still on course for 'modest growth' again.

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Attractions are now set for the crucial school summer holidays, in many cases wooing families with special events.

Mr Russell said: 'We have got our resident circus here for most of August which has got a really good following.'

Elsewhere in the county, Amazona Zoo, in Cromer - home to more than 200 tropical animals - is hoping to draw in extra visitors to see Tic-Tac, its newly-acquired toucan.

Meanwhile Wildrootz. Pensthorpe, near Fakenham, is inviting families to reject technology and go wild this summer at a back-to-nature attraction with over 30 individual items of play equipment nestled in the Norfolk countryside.

There are shallow streams to splash through, dens to build, underground burrows to explore, trees to climb, ponds to dip and a giant 12m high winding slide tower.

In Norwich, St John Baptist Cathedral in Earlham Road is offering holiday adventure with Dragon Trails and Tower Tours.

Find all the dragons sleeping in the cathedral and claim your prize; climb over 230 steps to the top of the tower and be rewarded with a spectacular view over Norwich.

There are 12 categories in the EDP/Visit Norfolk Tourism Awards which are now in their 10th year; the public can nominate their favourite tourism business or operators can nominate themselves.

Simply visit http://norfolk.tourismawards.co.uk and make your nomination(s) online. The awards culminate in a black tie presentation dinner in November.