Two Nottingham tourism and hospitality businesses, Ezekial Bone and NTU Events and Conferencing, have been recognised as amongst the best in the UK, winning Silver and Bronze awards respectively in VisitEngland’s Awards for Excellence 2020.
The VisitEngland Awards for Excellence, now in its thirty-first year, champion the very best of the country’s tourism industry, celebrating quality, innovation and best practice, and are the most coveted accolade in English tourism. The ceremony was hosted by Julia Bradbury from ‘The Outdoor Guide’, and the winners were selected from 53 finalists from across England and were announced at an online virtual event on Monday 17 August.
There are 15 core categories, from the Accessible and Inclusive Tourism Award to the Taste of England Award to the Hotel of the Year Award, as well as four special awards.
Ezekial Bone’s Robin Hood Town Tour won the coveted Silver award for Experience of the Year. The tour, led by multi award-winning tour guide Ezekial Bone a.k.a Robin Hood, is described as “the definitive way to learn all about the legend” and Nottingham’s fascinating history. The VisitEngland judging panel were very impressed by the tour, which has an average rating of 5 stars on TripAdvisor.
The Bronze winner for the Business Events Venue of the Year was NTU Events and Conferencing, which was highly commended for its “state-of-the-art, year-round conference, meetings and exhibition spaces”. It offers a diverse, high-quality and flexible range of packages to suit any requirement, and hosts over 500 events and 10,000 delegates per year.
The annual awards cycle begins with a series of local competitions – in Nottinghamshire’s case, the Nottinghamshire Hospitality STARS Awards. These local competitions feed up to the national VisitEngland Awards for Excellence. Businesses complete a single application and local winners are automatically put forward to the national judging panel.
This event was streamed live from 7pm – 9pm on the VisitEngland website and YouTube channel, VisitEnglandBiz.
Robert Dixon, interim Chief Executive of Marketing Nottingham, said:
“We are delighted that two of Nottingham’s incredible tourism and hospitality businesses have been recognised at the highest national level. For them to be bringing home Silver and Bronze awards to Nottingham is a truly remarkable achievement – and news that is particularly welcome given the challenges that the tourism sector has faced this year.”
“Ezekial Bone and NTU Events and Conferencing have worked so hard to bring a world-class experience to their customers – be that visitors enjoying a guided tour of the city, or delegates attending a conference – and it is absolutely fantastic that their efforts have been recognised by the national tourist board. Nottinghamshire’s tourism sector is worth more than £1.9bn and supports over 23,000 jobs, and these awards help to recognise the brilliant work of some of the best businesses in this industry. We are very proud of all of Nottinghamshire’s winners and finalists, and would like to congratulate all those across the country who have taken home one of these prestigious awards.”
Tour guide Ezekial Bone, a.k.a Robin Hood, said:
“It was fantastic to be selected as a finalist in this category – a feather in my cap, if you will – but to be bringing the Silver award to Nottingham truly is an honour and a privilege. Over 25 years of my life has been invested in trying to make Robin Hood real and relevant for the modern day, and to be recognised by industry leaders for this work is fantastic.”
“I’d also like to thank all the folks who have been on Robin Hood Town Tour and given it such great reviews. I’m very lucky to have such a great city as Nottingham. Through such work we collectively can make Robin Hood a fit hero for the 21st century and put him on the pedestal he deserves, as a champion of citizenship, culture and the environment. Robin Hood Lives!”
Tourism Minister Nigel Huddleston said:
“Not only does our tourism industry offer incredible experiences to those who holiday here, it supports millions of jobs up and down the country. I’m delighted to see so many great establishments, from major Lincolnshire attractions to boutique Yorkshire hotels, being celebrated. “
“This important sector has been hit hard by the coronavirus and we have helped with an unprecedented package of measures including the job retention scheme, a years’ business rates holiday and most recently a £4 billion reduction in VAT benefitting the sector.”
“I would like to congratulate all the winners and businesses around England who are doing an outstanding job in showcasing the best in tourism. I encourage everyone to get out, Enjoy Summer Safely, and experience everything England has to offer.”
VisitEngland Chief Executive Sally Balcombe said:
“These prestigious awards celebrate the outstanding businesses and individuals in tourism across England who have delivered excellence. From a world-class boutique B&B in Devon to adventure-packed experiences in Somerset, from an accessible country park and national nature reserve in Dorset to a bespoke English wine tour in Kent, our award winners provide stand-out experiences of the highest calibre.”
“Millions of jobs and local economies depend on tourism and this year’s awards are also a timely reminder of the determination, innovation and commitment of businesses across the country who have been working extremely hard to reopen, to welcome visitors back safely and to continue to provide a first-class experience.”
Posted on 18 August 2020