EDP VisitNorfolk.co.uk Tourism awards

The EDP/VisitNorfolk.co.uk Tourism Awards put a spotlight on deserving businesses and individuals right across the county and heading the list of worthy winners was Vanessa Scott, owner of Stratton’s Hotel in Swaffham, who took the Hoseasons-sponsored outstanding achievement award.
Presenting the top award at the beginning of the evening at the Holiday Inn Norwich North, Hoseasons managing director Simon Altham commended her commitment to helping tourism not just in the Brecks but across the whole county – on top of running a fantastically successful business.
The Maids Head Hotel in Norwich won the Best Food and Drink Tourism award and other winners were: Norfolk Broads Direct, Best Broads Holiday Experience; East View Farm Holiday Cottages, Best Self Catering Establishment; Congham Hall Hotel, Best Independent Hotel; Holkham Hall, Best Marketing; Houghton Revisited – Houghton Hall, Business Impact; Buzby Allen, Potters Leisure Resort, Customer Care; Titchwell Manor Hotel, Coastal Leisure; Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden, Best Visitor Attraction under 50,000 visitors; Dinosaur Adventure, Best Visitor Attraction over 50,000 visitors.
EDP editor Nigel Pickover told guests how important it was to cherish and celebrate Norfolk’s tourism industry, which generated nearly £2.8bn to the regional economy and directly supported more than 50,000 jobs.
He said: “The message from Visit Norfolk’s recent autumn conference was clear: that we need to start shouting out louder about what we have to offer.
“So let’s start right here and now. The line-up of finalists assembled tonight for the EDP/VisitNorfolk.co.uk Tourism Awards really says it all.
“From the finest independent hotels to restaurants serving up the best the region has to offer; from memorable days out on the coast to unforgettable trips to family attractions – our county has the lot.”
He said people could be reassured that “our number one industry is in the safe hands of people in this room tonight”.
In his keynote address, Mr Altham said it was clear that the county had embraced the need to invest to remain a destination of choice and everywhere he went he saw people working harder and smarter and investing more time and money into their tourism businesses.
“Look at Pensthorpe, Richardson’s and the Norfolk Showground to name but a few,” he said.
Mr Altham said the biggest challenge facing tourism businesses in the years ahead was “the pace at which technology is embedding itself into our day-to-day lives”.
He said in so many respects – from children staying connected with their social network, to checking work emails and uploading holiday snaps – “wi-fi is fast becoming as important as a bed when choosing a cottage, hotel, boat or lodge”.
He said: “I urge you to look further ahead. How will the teenagers of today be booking their holidays and what sort of holidays are they going to want to go on?
“While this seems far away, the i-Phone was not invented seven years ago – look at the impact that has had on our lives.”
Awards presented on the night, hosted by popular BBC presenter David Whiteley, covered every aspect of the county’s tourism offering.
Visit Norfolk brand manager Pete Waters said: “Congratulations to all the winners and finalists. The competition has been extremely fierce this year which reflects well not only on the strength of the tourism offering in Norfolk but also that businesses are realising that to compete they have to provide superb quality and value and invest in their products and promotions.
“This is exactly what we need to happen if we are to successfully promote the county as a year-round destination for people of all ages and interests.”

We've got the best tourism offering of any area in the country and this is the EDP's way of helping to celebrate that fact.
EDP editor Nigel Pickover