The annual celebrations are designed to honour the best the country has to offer throughout the tourism industry. A total of 69 finalists have been shortlisted for 15 Awards covering a variety of different types of related businesses, including accommodation providers and visitor attractions.
An independent judging panel of tourism industry experts, chaired by VisitEngland Board Member David Orr and including travel broadcaster Alison Rice, has already whittled down a total of 392 entries for this year's awards to make the final shortlist of 69. The winners will be announced at a ceremony on 22nd May at the Athena, Leicester.
In addition to five members of the Green Tourism Business Scheme being shortlisted for the Sustainable Tourism Award GTBS members have scooped a further 17 nominations across various categories.
“It is very exciting to see just how many finalists in this year's VisitEngland Awards for Excellence 2012 are members of the Green Tourism Business Scheme,” said Andrea Nicholas, Director of the GTBS.
“Sustainability has a major part to play in all areas of the tourism industry from accommodation providers and experience operators to visitor attractions and conference venues. Consumers are increasingly environmentally conscious and they are looking to businesses to take the lead. The GTBS is there to help businesses improve services, protect the environment and benefit the bottom line.
“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 scheme is now 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 scheme to be independently validated by the International Centre for Responsible Tourism (ICRT) on behalf of VisitEngland, VisitWales and the Northern Ireland Tourist Board, and endorsed by VisitScotland and Failte Ireland.
Andrea added: “I am sure our members recognise that it is an honour just to be shortlisted for one of these awards. I am extremely proud of every one of them and wish them all the best of luck.”
GTBS members up for awards this year include:
The University of Leeds Storm Jameson Court, Leeds (Access for All Tourism Award)
Dowfold House B&B, County Durham; Pentille Castle & Estate, Cornwall; Roundhouse Barn Holidays, Cornwall. (Bed & Breakfast / Guest Accommodation of the Year)
Cotswold Conference Centre, Worcestershire;
Best Western Premier Leyland Hotel: Ullswater Steamers, Cumbria (Outstanding Customer Service of the Year Award).
Compton Pool Farm, Devon; Roundhouse Barn Holidays, Cornwall; Belle Grove, Suffolk; Eaton Manor, Shropshire (Self Catering Holiday Provider of the Year).
Bath Priory, Bath; Swinton Park, Yorkshire (Small Hotel of the Year).
Hoe Grange, Peak District, Derbyshire; Kelling Heath, Norfolk; Ullswater Steamers, Cumbria; Wheatland Farm, Devon; Wheeldon Trees, Earl Sterndale, Peak District, Derbyshire (Sustainable Tourism Award).
BeWILDerwood, Norfolk (Large Visitor Attraction of the Year)
Opus One Restaurant & Bar, Manchester (Taste of England Award).
For further information on the Green Tourism Business Scheme please visit www.green-business.co.uk