International Bomber Command Centre wins gold at the Visit England Tourism Excellence – a momentous achievement for the county.

Last night’s VisitEngland Tourism Excellence Awards  was a night to remember for our county, as International Bomber Command Centre  and representative of Lincolnshire took home the Gold award for International Tourism.

The awards celebration is a prestigious event for the English tourism sector, which celebrate innovation and best practice across the nation. 2020 was the 31st year of the awards, and the first ever virtual ceremony, which was live streamed seamlessly through the VisitEngland YouTube channel.

The VisitEngland evening was hosted by English tourism ambassador and TV presenter Julia Bradbury, best known BBC One’s Countryfile  and The Outdoor Guide , and awards were presented by the panel of judges and VisitEngland VisitBritain staff and representatives.

The judges included Simon Law Chief Portfolio Office at Urbain Hospitality Group Kathryn Townsed, Head of Customer Accessibility, Barclays UK, Michael Hirst OBE, Chair Events Industry Board , and Sarah Fowler, VisitEngland Advisory Board Member and Chief Executive, Peak District National Park Authority , to name a few.

Tourism Minister, Nigel Huddleston MP also spoke during the event, saying “these awards recognise the talent and creativity with our fantastic tourism sector” and that he was “delighted to see such a strong field of finalists… from the smallest businesses to the very largest attractions [that have] all demonstrated a commitment to quality and excellence.”

Charlotte Goy, Chief Executive of Visit Lincoln  Said:

“The English Tourism landscape is hugely significant to our economy, with Greater Lincolnshire alone bringing in £2.4billion. The Tourism Excellence Awards is a chance for individuals and businesses to gain the recognition they deserve, and we were delighted to be represented as a county by the International Bomber Command Centre.

Congratulations to Nicky van der Drift, and her team and volunteers from all around the world for their fantastic achievement.”

The VisitEngland Tourism Excellence Awards recognise, congratulate and celebrate businesses and individuals in tourism across England, who have exceeded expectations and delivered excellence over the last 18 months.

The International Tourism Award category was presented by Joss Croft CEO UKinbound .  This award recognises any tourist business developing its product for international customers, from fantastic outdoor experiences to wonderful accommodation.

Since opening in 2018, the International Bomber Command Centre has proved very popular with overseas visitors, attracting 210,000 visitors in 21 counties in 23 months to experience its memorial, exhibition, visitor centre nine acres of gardens.

The IBCC were awarded for a truly memorable experience for visitors, demonstrating excellence across every aspect of the business.

During the introductions, awards judge Simon Law said:

“The sheer calibre and innovation prominent amongst all the finalist were exceptional. We discussed each business at great length, deliberating long and hard and we settled on our final decisions with full agreement.

And a sense of real happiness that we were reflecting the immense efforts pit in by all these all their teams. This level of customer care and the amazing holidays that result is testament to just how vibrant English tourism is.”

The competition was intense, and over 400 submissions from across England were all competing to be shortlisted within the 15 core categories. This year’s awards aligned with 18 competitions around the country , and winners were automatically put forward by their DMO’s for the national awards.

Visit Lincoln put forward applications for the national award from winners of the Lincolnshire Tourism Excellence Awards
 which were held in March this year, in partnership with Lincolnshire Live.

A total of 36 Lincolnshire businesses were nominated for the regional awards , of whom celebrate quality, innovation and best practice across Lincolnshire, that took place at DoubleTree by Hilton , on Lincoln’s Brayford Waterfront and sponsored by LNER .

Winners of the Lincolnshire Tourism Excellence Awards also included Little Redlands B&B Grange Farm Park Ashlin Farm Barns , The Cross Keys Stow, Petwood Hotel The Old Granary,  Cameron Huggins Blacksmith, Play Avenue and Lincoln Castle who were put forward to be shortlisted for the national 2020 awards.

This year’s awards are a timely opportunity to acknowledge the determination and dedication of the whole of the tourism sector, who have worked extremely hard during with unprecedented time to keep afloat, and now keep open and welcome visitors back safely.