Celebrating the East of England's finest visitor attractions

Cute toddler girl, two little school kids boys and young mother feeding lama and alpaca on a kids fa

Passionate teams delivering excellent service create memorable experiences for all generations - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

The East of England Tourism Awards 2021 are open for entries. Here we speak to the judges and sponsors of the Large Visitor Attraction of the Year and Small Visitor Attraction of the Year categories.

LARGE VISITOR ATTRACTION OF THE YEAR

Dave Gibbons, managing director of KNP:

Can you tell us a bit about your involvement in the tourism industry?

We work with various businesses involved in tourism from sports facilities to hotels and so on. We have been helping them generate income and raise their profile for 16 years via Direct Mail and Door Drop campaigns.

Why were you keen to get involved in the East of England Tourism Awards?

Tourism is a big driver of revenue for the economy so it’s vital that it thrives. It’s been a much tougher time for tourism than many other sectors and it needs to come back strong. We’re keen to help and support all the different businesses that make up the tourism sector.

Dave Gibbons, managing director of KNP

Dave Gibbons, managing director of KNP - Credit: KNP

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Have you ever been judged for an award yourself?

Yes, we have. Most recently we were part of the Suffolk Business Awards 2020. And while we didn’t win, the judges selected us for the final of the Small & Medium Business category, so I know all about the process and the excitement.

Will you use that experience when judging this award?

Definitely. To know what’s needed, to see the level of commitment and detail put into the entries that succeed is going to be beneficial. First of all, you have to believe you’ve got a chance but then don’t play at it. If you enter, you need to give it everything. 

What will it take to wow you?

Detail. The amount of attention to detail you put into your entry will be what wows me. I want to know just how exciting your attraction is and feel like I’ve got to visit straight away!

SMALL VISITOR ATTRACTION OF THE YEAR

Martin Dupée, chair of Norfolk & Suffolk Tourist Attractions:

Can you tell us a bit about your involvement in the tourism industry?

I became part of the region’s tourism industry in 2004 when I joined Banham Zoo as commercial manager, the same year becoming actively involved with NSTA. Successive years saw me leading commercial operations at a number of visitor attractions including joining Pensthorpe Natural Park earlier this year. As a director of NSTA, I am now serving my second term as chair.

What do you bring to the judging process?

I’ve had the absolute honour of many years as a leader within visitor attractions and have been judging the awards for nearly as long. I’m really looking forward to seeing the exceptional service and passion offered by the operators and teams working within the region’s smaller attractions demonstrating the pinnacle of the region's tourism offering.

What have your previous experiences of judging been like?

Extremely favourable. I am genuinely proud of this region’s tourism offering and have every reason to be.

Martin Dupée, chair of Norfolk & Suffolk Tourist Attractions

Martin Dupée, chair of Norfolk & Suffolk Tourist Attractions - Credit: NSTA

What will it take to wow you?

Passionate people really make the difference. It's always the people that can provide that lasting memory.

What advice would you give to a small visitor attraction that’s considering entering?

Believe in the experience you provide visitors on a daily basis and be very proud of what you add to someone’s day. By entering the awards, you can not only gain the recognition you genuinely deserve, it provides a massive opportunity to promote the business to others who may not have otherwise had the opportunity to visit. With so many hidden gems in the region it's time to shine.

The deadline for entries to the East of England Tourism Awards is midnight on October 3. To see the full list of categories and criteria visit www.tourismawards.co.uk

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