Time to nominate your tourism champions in EDP awards

The 2013 EDP Tourism Awards are launched by Katie Hanger(Hoseasons), Barbara Greasley(Broads Tourism

The 2013 EDP Tourism Awards are launched by Katie Hanger(Hoseasons), Barbara Greasley(Broads Tourism) and Stephen Pullinger(EDP).PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY - Credit: Archant Norfolk

Readers are being urged to nominate their own tourism champions in the ninth EDP Norfolk Tourism Awards.

With the sun shining at last and schools about to break up, now is the perfect time for families to enjoy some of the county's fabulous attractions.

From the bucket-and-spade fun of Great Yarmouth and Cromer to the excitement of Banham Zoo and the exhilaration of Bewilderwood, the choice is endless.

And there are no end of great pubs, cafes and restaurants to stop off for a meal on the way back.

When you experience a great tourism business, be sure to compliment the staff - and we want to know as well.

To nominate a business, destination or event for the EDP's Norfolk Tourism Awards, simply visit the website http://norfolk.tourismawards.co.uk

Businesses are also invited to nominate themselves.

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Our awards put a shining light on the businesses, events, teams and individuals that successfully shape Norfolk's number one industry that directly employs 50,000 people and contributes £2.6bn to the local economy.

The EDP's successful Norfolk Is... campaign has underlined the love and loyalty our readers feel for their home county and this is your chance to help us celebrate the businesses and people who make it so special.

Our awards recognise every aspect of your tourism experience: from the best independent hotels and visitor attractions to the event of the year and the finest self-catering establishments.

They recognise businesses demonstrating outstanding achievement and celebrate the most memorable Broads holiday experience.

A new category for this year, fittingly sponsored by Brian Potter who has earned an MBE for services to tourism, is coastal leisure, putting the spotlight on businesses and events that make our seaside great.

The closing date for nominations is August 30 and, following judging, the winners will be announced at a black tie awards night on November 21 at the Holiday Inn Norwich North.

EDP editor Nigel Pickover said: 'We have a fabulous tourism offering in our region and the EDP is proud to again sponsor the Norfolk Tourism Awards which put a deserved spotlight on the businesses, events and individuals that make the industry great.'

Simon Altham, managing director of lead sponsor Hoseasons, said: 'We are delighted to be able to support the EDP's Norfolk Tourism Awards for the fourth year running. For our business Norfolk remains one of the jewels in the crown of British tourism, with us hosting thousands of holidaymakers each year at parks, lodges, cottages and boats throughout the county.

'It is therefore essential that we play a part in recognising the quality of the businesses that make our customers' experience so special. Once again I know the judges across all the categories will face a very tough job in picking winners.'

Mike Minors, who with his wife Belinda is developing a major new wedding venue and pub, The Boathouse at Ormesby Broad, is proud to be sponsoring Best Broads Holiday Experience.

He said: 'In hard times it is essential we properly reward quality attractions for their innovation, investment and passion to welcome visitors to experience such a magical destination. As the new kids on the block we our very, very proud to support the broads family.'

Philippa Harris, MD of Take One Media, which is sponsoring Best Marketing Initiative, said: 'Our category offers an opportunity for businesses, attractions and organisations to gain recognition for their efforts in adopting a proactive approach to marketing – be that through print, online, outdoor, press activity or a mix of all these.

'The sheer breadth of things to do means that visitors need easy access to information to make the most of their visit.'

Christopher Scargill, partner for tourism and leisure at Larking Gowen chartered accountants, sponsor of the Independent Hotel category, said: 'We are extremely pleased to be participating in the tourism awards again, having been involved since the very outset.

'Tourism is Norfolk's biggest industry, and the Independent Hotel sector plays an important role. With such a broad cross-section of people and businesses using hotels in the county, they are a fundamental ingredient to what our fantastic county has to offer.'

Pippa Redmond, director of Norwich Print Solutions, sponsor of Best Food and Drink Tourism Attraction, said: 'Food is an important part of everyone's holiday experience and Norfolk sets the highest standards with a great emphasis on using local produce.'

Heather McCraith, manager at Norfolk Country Cottages, sponsor of Best Self-Catering Establishment, said: 'Guests' expectations are rising continually and owners who keep ahead of the changing market deserve to be recognised. Norfolk can be proud of its standards.'

Richard Turvill, MD of Camplings Linen Services, sponsor of the Customer Care category, said: 'In difficult economic times it is even more important to make every effort to keep the customer satisfied.'

Andrew Hird, spokesman for Norfolk Tourist Attractions Association, sponsor of Best Visitor Attraction, said: 'Norfolk has a diverse range of attractions and we are very fortunate to have such a high quality of attractions.'

Roger Holden, managing partner, Hansells Solicitors and Financial Advisers, said: 'Hansells is delighted to sponsor the EDP Tourism Awards for the seventh consecutive year.

'The Business Impact category recognises those businesses that make a significant impact on the region's tourism industry and economy. Winners show an enviable track record of attracting visitors from far and wide; their success has a ripple-effect which benefits other businesses and suppliers across the region.'

Watch an interview on Mustard Television at www.mustardtv.co.uk with Martin Goymour, a past winner of the outstanding achievement category in the EDP Tourism Awards. The boss of Banham Zoo, Africa Alive and Dinosaur Adventure gives his views on the awards and Norfolk's tourism industry.

The categories for EDP's Norfolk Tourism Awards

Outstanding Achievement - sponsor Hoseasons

Independent Hotel - Larking Gowen

Best Food and Drink Tourism Attraction - Norwich Print Solution

Best Self-Catering Establisment - Norfolk Country Cottages

Customer Care - Camplings Linen Services

Business Impact - Hansells Solicitors

Best Visitor Attraction - Norfolk Tourist Attractions Association

Event of the Year - Newsmakers PR

Best Marketing Initiative - Take One Media

Coastal Leisure (Businesses that make our seaside great) - Potters Leisure Resort

Best Broads Holiday Experience - The Boathouse, in Ormesby.

To enter, visit the website http://norfolk.tourismawards.co.uk