With a history dating back more than 20 years the annual celebration, which used to be known as the EnjoyEngland Awards, is considered an important highlight of the Tourism Industry calendar.
More than 390 businesses from across England entered the Awards this year. They have been whittled down to 69 shortlisted finalists battling it out for the 15 prestigious honours that mark them out as being at the top of their game.
The accolades are intended to recognise businesses that incorporate best practice and quality with a willingness to innovate and help raise standards across the industry, and secure England’s place as a world-class holiday destination.
“Sustainability plays a major part in creating a successful modern tourism industry for the present and the future,” said Andrea Nicholas, Director of the Green Tourism Business Scheme. “We are proud to be the official sponsors of the Sustainable Tourism Award in the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence 2012.
“Everybody has a role to play to help the environment. Consumers are increasingly environmentally conscious and they are looking to businesses to take the lead. Simple things like sourcing food from local suppliers, cutting down on water use, installing energy saving lighting, increasing insulation and turning dow the heating can all make a big difference.”
The Green Tourism Business Scheme is the biggest of its kind in the world with over 2,400 members and an influence that reaches from North America to New Zealand. It is the first and only scheme to be independently validated by the International Centre for Responsible Tourism (ICRT) on behalf of VisitEngland, VisitWales and the Northern Ireland Tourist Board, as well as being endorsed by VisitScotland and Failte Ireland.
Started by directors Jon Proctor and Andrea Nicholas it provides consumers with an independent guide to hotels, bed & breakfasts, tourist attractions and visitor centres which are actively trying to help the environment.
Members get Bronze, Silver or Gold grades based on how environmentally friendly they are through their use of energy saving lights and heating, serving local food stuffs, promoting conservation and other measures. Independent family businesses and multi-national hotel chains are all graded in the same way with members reporting savings of up to more than £1million a year on energy and costs.
“Our system was ahead of its time when it was introduced and has been helping businesses meet visitor expectations by making them more environmentally efficient ever since. It is fantastic that we are now officially recognised and endorsed by all five of the UK tourism agencies. It is even more satisfying to see so many finalists in the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence 2012 are already members of the Green Tourism Business Scheme. We wish them all the very best of luck on the night.”
This year's final of the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence 2012 will be held on May 22 at the Athena, Leicester.
For more information on the Green Tourism Business Scheme please visit www.green-busines.co.uk