YOU choose the winners in EDP/Visit Norfolk Tourism Awards

Hannah Clarke enjoying the Christmas Spectacular at Thursford Photo: Bill Smith

Hannah Clarke enjoying the Christmas Spectacular at Thursford Photo: Bill Smith - Credit: Archant © 2007

The countdown has begun to the EDP/Visit Norfolk Tourism Awards which culminate in a black tie awards dinner. Tourism correspondent Stephen Pullinger introduces two more awards - Business Impact and Best Food and Drink Tourism Attraction.

Business Impact

This category, sponsored for the past eight years by Hansells Solicitors and Financial Advisers, acknowledges the powerful ripple effect successful events and businesses can have.

As Hansells' managing partner Roger Holden observes: 'It takes an innovative entrepreneur to ensure the Norfolk experience is memorable both to visitors and local residents, while making a significant impact on the region's economy.'

He is proud of the fact that 'year-on-year, entries in the Business Impact category get ever stronger. Winners show an enviable track record of attracting visitors from far and wide and their success has a ripple-effect which benefits many other businesses and suppliers.'

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A shining light through the years has been the Thursford Christmas Spectacular which won the Business Impact award in 2011.

Mr Holden said: 'I distinctly remember the knock-on effect the Christmas Spectacular had on the Norfolk economy with hotels and B&Bs full to capacity, wonderfully busy local eateries and even a small, family-run bakery producing thousands of delicious mince pies to feed the audience.'

Last year's tough competition saw Norwich's Go Go Gorillas campaign and Great Yarmouth Maritime Festival vying for the honours but the award went to Houghton Hall's Houghton Revisited exhibition.

Mr Holden said: 'Opened by HRH The Prince of Wales it brought back into the country and to Norfolk the most celebrated art collection of the 18th century. This inspirational once-in-a-lifetime exhibition, curated by Dr Thierry Morel, spectacularly captured the value and spirit of culture in Norfolk. Visitors from all over the United Kingdom and many parts of the world came to Norfolk for the exhibition.'

In making their deliberations this year, the judges will place an emphasis on organisations that can demonstrate how they are making a major contribution to the local economy by attracting visitors to events, conferences, business trips, exhibitions or other activities.

Best Food and Drink Tourism Attraction

This category, sponsored by Norwich Print Solutions, recognises the fact that food and drink now play a key role in enhancing visitor experience and attracting greater footfall.

Across the county, growing numbers of restaurants, cafes and delis are taking great pride in the way they present fresh, local produce and 'low food miles' has become something of a buzz word.

There are now plenty of restaurants that have truly become destination attractions, drawing custom from a wide area.

In presenting last year's award to the Maid's Head Hotel, judges observed that it 'stood out for its local products and its reputation as a great-taste destination'.

'It is part of one of the oldest areas of Norwich, and has a rich history in its own right. The food there is outstanding. We really enjoyed the flavours of the food and drink,' they said.

Judges will be looking to see that organisations deliver a consistently impressive food and drink provision and pay attention to local sourcing; have developed a deliberate strategy around enhancing their onsite offering through food and drink; and have seen revenue and / or footfall increases as a result of their menu and service.

Pippa Redmond, director of Norwich Print Solutions, said: 'We are very proud to be sponsoring the awards. Tourism contributes a large amount to businesses within Norfolk by stimulating and sustaining the local economy.'

Readers are invited to nominate their tourism champions online at and businesses are invited to nominate themselves. Closing date for nominations is July 31.