Below are details about each of the awards.  For your information:

  • We may merge or split categories depending on entries.
  • We also reserve the right to move an entry into a different category should we consider it a better fit, however we will consult with you before doing this.
  • Entries will only be accepted from businesses that meet current and relevant Legal and Licensing Compliance. The judges reserve the right to decline an entry if in their opinion this cannot be confirmed.
  • Businesses that serve food must have a minimum food hygiene rating of three out of five.  We reserve the right to refuse an application if this minimum requirement is not met at any point prior to the awards ceremony. An exception is made for new businesses who have not yet been graded.
  • Businesses that have been trading for at least six months and up to two years when applications open are strongly recommended to apply to the New Tourism Business of the Year category before considering any other categories.
  • Categories marked (VE) are those also included in the national VisitEngland Awards, into which winners from these awards may progress. Please note that some of our categories are merged when they go through to the VisitEngland awards for example:
    • VisitEngland Taste of England Award combines Restaurant, Cafe and Tea Room and Casual Dining
    • Camping, Glamping and Holiday Park of the Year combines Glamping Business of the Year and Camping & Holiday Park of the Year
    • Experience of the Year combines Experience of the Year (Active or Learning) and Spa and Wellbeing Experience of the Year.
  • You can apply for more than one category, except where specified within the eligibility criteria, but separate applications must be completed for each.Entry is open to members and non-members of Tourism South East. For members entry is free and non-members are required to pay a fee of £70 plus VAT, £45 for B and Bs this includes two entries plus Sustainability and Access and in addition New Tourism Business, Innovation and Unsung Hero categories which are free.  If more than two categories are entered an additional fee will be charged of £35/£22.50 respectively, plus VAT, per entry. Non-members will be invoiced on receipt of the entry form although processing of the entry will not begin until payment has been received by Tourism South East.

 

Unsung Hero Award (VE) - Recognises an individual working in any aspect of a tourism business who excels in their role and deserves to be applauded for their work and commitment to the industry, they do not need to be customer facing. It is intended for those who continually go above and beyond, offering exceptional service to visitors. It's not primarily intended for managers or owners, except for those in very small businesses. Nominations may be from another staff member or by our own mystery visitors.

 

Business Events Venue of the Year (VE) - Recognises business events venues that demonstrate an excellent understanding of the market, exceeding the expectations of their clients and have a strategic plan for future development within this area, with clear goals.

Tourism Event/Festival of the Year - Recognises providers of truly memorable and immersive tourism events.  Events should make a contribution to the visitor economy with a significant proportion of business generated by people visiting from outside the local area eg attendance/participation figures likely to be in excess of 5000.

Visitor Information Service of the Year - This award is for visitor information providers that offer an exceptional standard of service and appropriate information.  This should be done through face to face contact as well as utilising social media and information technology but must include responding to individual enquiries rather than just information provision. 

Wedding Venue of the Year (NEW) - Recognises wedding venues that attract visitors to the region and demonstrate an excellent understanding of the market, exceeding the expectations of their clients.

Access and Inclusive Tourism Award (VE) - Recognises tourism businesses providing truly memorable visitor experiences for everyone, particularly those with accessibility requirements, and demonstrating excellence across every aspect of the business.

Dog Friendly Business of the Year - Recognises providers of truly memorable experiences for dogs and their human companions.

Ethical, Responsible and Sustainable Tourism Award (VE) - Recognises tourism businesses committed to being sustainable, responsible and ethical in how they operate and interact with customers, the wider community and the environment. 

International Tourism Award (VE) - Recognises tourism businesses providing truly memorable visitor experiences, particularly for international visitors, and demonstrating excellence across every aspect of the business.

New Tourism Business Award (VE) - Recognises high performing new tourism businesses, demonstrating excellent understanding of their market, exceeding the expectations of their customers with clear plans for future development.

Tourism Innovation Award - Recognises innovative developments by new or existing tourism businesses designed to increase productivity and profitability, setting themselves apart from competitors. 

B&B and Guest House of the Year (VE) - Recognises bed & breakfast and guest house businesses providing truly memorable guest experiences and demonstrating excellence across every aspect of the business.

Camping & Holiday Park of the Year (VE) - Recognises holiday and caravan parks, campsites and holiday villages providing truly memorable guest experiences and demonstrating excellence across every aspect of the business. 

Glamping Business and Alternative Accommodation of the Year (VE) - Recognises glamping and alternative accommodation sites providing truly memorable guest experiences and demonstrating excellence across every aspect of the business. This category is for businesses where glamping is the main accommodation offer - not an add-on to a campsite or holiday park.  Sites with yurts, tepees, shepherd’s huts, safari tents and similar should enter this category.

Large Hotel of the Year (VE) - Recognises full service hotels providing truly memorable guest experiences and demonstrating excellence across every aspect of the business. (Offers a minimum of 35 bedrooms. However, a business with fewer than 35 bedrooms can apply if it is a full-service hotel with extensive facilities).

Self Catering Accommodation of the Year (VE) - Recognises self catering accommodation businesses providing truly memorable guest experiences and demonstrating excellence across every aspect of the business. (Businesses whose main offer is self catering accommodation including cottages, houses, historic properties (or part thereof), holiday boats, barn conversions, hostels, apartments and serviced apartments etc).

Small Hotel of the Year (VE) - Recognises small serviced accommodation businesses providing truly memorable guest experiences and demonstrating excellence across every aspect of the business. (Usually offers between 12 and 35 bedrooms. However, serviced accommodation businesses with fewer than 12 or more than 35 bedrooms can apply if they consider themselves appropriate for this category).

 

Experience of the Year (VE) - Recognises providers of truly memorable and immersive activities for visitors to participate in. The category includes any visitor experience that requires participation in an activity.  It may involve a host/teacher/instructor/guide or may be undertaken independently, is likely to be immersive and interactive and may involve learning or adventure.  The start of the entry form has more information.

Large Visitor Attraction of the Year (VE) - Recognises large visitor attraction businesses providing truly memorable visitor experiences and demonstrating excellence across every aspect of the business. (Attracts 75,000 visitors or more per year or employs more than 10 full-time equivalent members of staff).

Small Visitor Attraction of the Year (VE) - Recognises small visitor attraction businesses providing truly memorable visitor experiences and demonstrating excellence across every aspect of the business. (Attracts 75,000 visitors or fewer per year or employs 10 or fewer full-time equivalent members of staff).

Spa and Wellbeing Experience of the Year (VE) - Recognises providers of truly memorable and immersive spa and wellbeing experiences for visitors to participate in.  Entries are welcome from spas, yoga breaks, health retreats, etc whether standalone or part of another business. 

 

Café/Tearoom of the Year (VE) - Recognises businesses within the tourism industry that offer food, beverage and service innovation and excellence. Food service businesses including cafés, tea rooms, coffee shops.

Pub of the Year (VE) - Recognises pubs that make a significant contribution to tourism in their area, with a food and drink offering that includes quality locally sourced produce.

Restaurant/Bistro of the Year (VE) - Recognises businesses within the tourism industry that offer food, beverage and service innovation and excellence. Food service businesses including restaurants, hotel restaurants, bistros.