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2016/17 TOURISM AWARDS OPEN FOR ENTRY

This year’s Devon Tourism Awards are open for entry - and businesses are invited to enter by the deadline of midnight on 12th June.

After a record year, in which the region’s tourism awards schemes attracted 490 entries with over 100 winners and 26 going on to become national finalists, the 2016/17 cycle has started and hospitality businesses across Devon are invited to enter.

Reflecting trends in the industry each year brings changes to the awards, and 2016 sees new awards for Glamping, for individual Self Catering properties and a widening of the Dog Friendly category to include all types of tourism business. Industry feedback has also led to criteria changes for the Attraction, Small Hotel and B&B awards. Other categories include Spas and Wellbeing, Active & Sporting experience, Artistic, Cultural & Learning Experience, Cafes, Pubs, Restaurants, B&Bs, Hotels, Attractions, Business Tourism, Holiday Parks, Customer Service, Accessibility, Tourist Information and Sustainability.

Another development this year as a result of business feedback is the shortening of entry forms, reflecting the fact that most of the judging is based on visits.

The Awards websites include new case studies from recent finalists, each of them sharing their top tips on why businesses should enter and how to win:

Sally Glanvill of Rydon Farm Bed and Breakfast in Devon says: "Winning both the county and regional award at our first attempt was beyond our wildest dreams! The application process, although initially daunting, forced us to re-evaluate our business, identify areas requiring improvement and enhance our strengths. Winning Gold has undoubtedly raised our public profile and I would encourage all passionate tourism businesses to enter."

The Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, new Bristol, Bath & Somerset, and South West awards are all independent, but linked in that winners from the county awards are fast-tracked into the South West awards, with most South West winners submitted to the national VisitEngland awards. Entry is free, the programmes being funded by a range of sponsors and partners, and all entrants receive feedback.

Headline sponsors of both the Devon and Cornwall Awards is Hoseasons. Mark Warnes, property and portfolio director at Hoseasons, says: “We are delighted to be supporting these awards once again. Every year we take hundreds of thousands of people on holiday across the country and every year we are astounded by the efforts of the people we work with to keep raising the bar on the standard of domestic breaks available to our customers. It’s vital that we recognise the commitment of those in the sector whose hard work continues to make the region so appealing to the UK audience.”

The deadline for entering all five schemes is midnight on 12th June, but businesses are encouraged to start preparing now and not leave it to the last minute. See HOW TO ENTER