Top award for third generation tourism business in Hunstanton
- Credit: Archant
A third generation family business at Hunstanton has been ranked among the top five holiday parks in the country.
The highly commended accolade for Searles Leisure Resort at the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence comes only 17 months after the town was hit by the historic December 2013 storm surge.
Searles escaped the serious damage which affected Hunstanton Sea Life Sanctuary and was able to continue to trade as normal - and this week the family business became the only one from the region to be recognised in the national awards.
Four members of the Searle family took to the stage at an awards ceremony in Gateshead to be presented with a framed certificate by Penelope Viscountess Cobham, Chairman of VisitEngland.
James Berresford, VisitEngland's chief executive said: 'It is a great achievement to win a highly commended award in a field of very high quality applications. It places Searles in the top five businesses for excellence in their category in England.'
The resort, which employs more than 200 people, has 350 privately owned and more than 150 rented holiday homes as well as 300 touring and camping pitches.
Its wide range of facilities includes bars, restaurants, shops and indoor and outdoor swimming pools; the resort also has an 18-hole golf course.
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Managing director Paul Searle said: 'We're incredibly proud. Holidaying at Searles or purchasing a holiday home in our country park means guests and owners will be spending their leisure time at one of England's finest and most desirable holiday locations, which has always been our goal.'
The award for the resort, which has recently invested in new four berth platinum luxury lodges with hot tubs, comes in the wake of its success at the EDP/ Visit Norfolk Tourism Awards last November when it was judged to be Best Holiday Park/ Village.
Chris Scargill, tourism and leisure partner at Larking Gowen chartered accountants, who judged that award, said: 'It is great news that a stalwart of Norfolk's tourism offering has been recognised with a national award.
'Searles Leisure Resort has demonstrated the ability over the years to develop and grow, sometimes in the face of adversity, to establish itself as a well-loved holiday location for guests.
'The key to their success, as with any industry, is to ensure there is investment in the future through listening to its customers as well as a commitment to annual refurbishment plans and longer term investment.
'It proved its strength of guest care during the December 2013 tidal surge, having incurred significant damage due to extensive flooding, but managing to avoid cancelling any guest bookings.'
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