Eight outstanding Hertfordshire businesses have been recognised at the Hertfordshire Tourism Awards ceremony on 10 December at the Hanbury Manor Marriott Hotel and Country Club in Ware.
Winners of the seven awards categories include:
Rest Your Head Award (Small Accommodation Provider of the Year) – Hertford Camping & Caravanning Club Site, Hertford
Taste & Tell Award (Taste of Hertfordshire of the Year) – Brewery Tearooms, Walkern
Big Sleep Award (Large Accommodation Provider of the Year) – The Grove, Watford
Big Day Out Award (Large Visitor Attraction of the Year) – Warner Bros. Studio, London – The Making of Harry Potter, Leavesden
Hidden Gem Award (Small Visitor Attraction of the Year) – Shepwreth Wildlife Park, Shepwreth
Raising the Bar Award (Tourism Pub of the Year) – The Bricklayers Arms, Flaunden
Lasting Impression Award (Ultimate Tourism Experience of the Year) – Broadway Cinema & Theatre, Letchworth
St Albans-based Willows Activity Farm also won a special award recognising their ongoing charity work with the Family Holiday Association, which provides breaks for families struggling with issues such as disability, illness, bereavement, and domestic violence.
Alex Bunney, Partnership Development Manager at Family Holiday Association, who presented the award said: “This award really recognises that Willows Activity Farm have gone above and beyond this year, donating tickets throughout the entire year and helping us to deliver family days out to people that really need them. It’s good for these generous attractions to donate tickets and show their customers and staff that they are giving back to the local community.”
The awards were first launched in 2017 by destination management specialists Go To Places who deliver Visit Herts - Hertfordshire's visitor economy and business tourism service part-funded by Hertfordshire LEP - to reward exceptional standards of customer service and outstanding visitor experiences within the local tourism industry. Following an initial round of judging by an expert panel of independent tourism judges from outside the county, the shortlisted finalists were decided by public vote across social media and the Visit Herts website. Over 4,500 people voted for the winners.
Deirdre Wells OBE, CEO of Go To Places, said: “The Hertfordshire Tourism Awards are an opportunity for us to celebrate the best in the business in tourism in Hertfordshire and to really showcase the ‘best in class.’ We’ve had some really exciting winners today, from wonderful food and drink providers to exciting attractions – all of whom are providing a world class service to our customers, really helping to grow the economy in Hertfordshire.”
Tim Burton, ERDF Projects Facilitator at Hertfordshire LEP, said: "As a competition driven by public vote, the Hertfordshire Tourism Awards present a valuable opportunity for us to showcase the county's fantastic tourism offer and celebrate the businesses raising the bar when it comes to delivering outstanding customer experiences. Our congratulations go out to all the winners and we hope they inspire more businesses to nominate themselves for an award next year."
Nominees and winners enjoyed a traditional afternoon tea at the ceremony, which was also attended by Cllr David Williams, Cllr Gary Jones and Go To Places Chairman Bill Ferris. The winners will now be featured by VisitEngland as part of the 30th Anniversary celebration for their national Awards for Excellence.