The national tourism agency announced the new format during the Awards 30th celebrations held at London’s Banqueting House on Whitehall.
The annual VisitEngland Awards for Excellence celebrate quality, innovation and best practice across the country’s tourism industry. The refreshed format introduced embraces the impact of digital technology, the growing demand for experienced-based travel and tailoring tourism products and services that cater for international visitors.
VisitEngland Chief Executive Sally Balcombe said:
“The tourism landscape in England is continuously evolving with visitors using technology to personalise the products they choose and our Awards must keep up with the aspirations of tourists.
“The new VisitEngland Awards for Excellence have been redesigned, refreshed and streamlined to better reflect today’s tourism landscape. They also adhere to the guiding principles of the awards, recognising and rewarding the outstanding quality and standards thriving at the heart of our industry.”
New categories introduced for 2019-20 include ‘Experience of the Year’, ‘International Tourism Award’ and ‘New Tourism Business Award’ as well as simplified application forms and a new application management platform.
The judging panels will be tailored to suit each category type whether assessing sustainability, accessibility or food, leading industry figures will take part in the judging to ensure rigorous assessments.
The revamped Awards align with the 18 regional competitions that take place across the country, ensuring local winners are automatically put forward for the national Awards.
VisitEngland will also support destinations that do not currently hold local competitions to launch Awards of their own, giving greater coverage across England.
Applicants for 2019-20 will first need to progress through a regional competition, the first two of which opened recently in the south west and Cumbria.
Tourism in England contributes £106 billion annually to the British economy, creating jobs and boosting economic growth.