Frequently asked questions

Here are answers to some of the most common questions: 

Our judges are well used to comparing businesses of very different types and sizes, usually asking themselves the question: “can this business be any better at what it is?” as well as "how well does this business deliver to its target audience?"  In the past this has led to satisfactory comparisons of individual cottages with large complexes, as well as surf schools with car hire companies. Customer expectations differ for different businesses types and sizes, and so do those of our judges.

See answer above – the same answer applies!

Tourism is a huge and diverse industry and we try to offer an opportunity for every business to enter, but have to balance this out with categories that have enough entries to make them viable and the need for an awards night that finishes at a sensible hour! If you can't find a category to match your business, please get in touch with us and we'll give you guidance on what to do.

We’d love to visit every business that enters, but our judges are volunteers and the whole programme has to be handled within the budgets made possible by sponsor funding.

Almost certainly not!  Judges want to see the passion for excellence that comes from a business owner or manager.  They want evidence rather than ‘fluff’ – and won’t be impressed by hyperbolae and marketing-speak.  Please be yourself!

Remarkably, the last few years have seen very few ‘repeat winners’ and the judging requirement for year-on-year quality enhancements makes it very hard for anyone to win again unless they have made significant new investments in their business or are genuinely outstanding in their field.  While we don’t believe in creating artificial ‘rules’ to prevent winners from entering again, we don’t encourage it and are always delighted to see new entrants.

Please remember that accessibility is about you doing what you reasonably can to offer a quality experience to all visitors, whatever their needs. It therefore relates to mothers with buggies, people with allergies, those with visual or hearing impairment, just as much as those with mobility needs.  Use your answer to illustrate what you have done to be as accessible and inclusive as you reasonably can!

If you would like more information about accessibility, VisitEngland has an excellent website with lots of useful information.

Entry is open to members and non-members of Tourism South East.  Entry is free to members, non-members are required to pay a fee of £70 plus VAT.  Non-members will be invoiced on receipt of the entry form and processing of the entry will not begin until payment has been received by Tourism South East.  Entries in the New Tourism Business, Resilience & Innovation and Unsung Hero categories are free for members and non-members. 


To enter your business must offer visitor experiences, events etc in the Tourism South East area which covers Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Hampshire, Surrey, the Isle of Wight, Sussex and Kent.  If your business is located in another area, details of others schemes can be found on the VisitEngland Awards website.

You certainly can, but please don’t sit back and expect the business to flow in.  Winning an award gives you a great ‘tool’ and media story, and if used effectively in your own PR, social media and marketing, you should certainly expect to win new business.  We’ll do all we can to help and suggest some of the tools you may consider using.

Theatres are eligible to enter Accessible and Inclusive Tourism, Ethical, Responsible and Sustainable Tourism, New Tourism Business, Resilience and Innovation and Unsung Hero.  Theatres are only eligible to enter the Visitor Attractions categories if they provide a tour, museum or exhibition element.  Please read the eligibliity information on the entry forms for more details about each category.


Yes – you can access a copy of your entry form(s) to either view, save or print by logging back into your account at  ; on the left hand menu you'll see an option to access 'completed entries'

VisitEngland have provided comprehensive information to help in this important area, please click here for details.

The Self Catering Accommodation category is open to businesses whose main offer is self catering accommodation including cottages, houses, historic properties (or part thereof), holiday boats, barn conversions, apartments, hostels and serviced apartments etc.

This applies to a single self-catering property or a collection of self-catering properties in one location (on a single site) owned by the same proprietor and of a similar quality.   A business with multiple properties across different locations is not eligible to apply in its entirety. This includes agencies. However, an application may be completed for a specific location (on a single site) if it is clearly identified within any marketing e.g. website.

Large self catering accommodation complexes (e.g. with chalets and lodges) with a range of facilities and activities available should apply for the Camping, Glamping and Holiday Park of the Year category.

Online events are welcome to enter the Tourism Event & Festivals category, as long as they are able to demonstrate a contribution to the regional economy.

We arrange workshops to help businesses with their entries each year and will share the links for 2022/23 below when we open next years awards.

If you are a member of Tourism South East the awards are free to enter.  Non-members are required to pay a fee of £70 plus VAT.  Non-members will be invoiced on receipt of the entry form and processing of the entry will not begin until payment has been received by Tourism South East.  

Entries in the New Tourism Business, Resilience & Innovation and Unsung Hero categories are free for members and non-members.

All entrants will receive free feedback and can also attend a free workshop to help you complete your entry, which are being held on 25 May and 15 June 2021. 

If you are a winner you will be able to use the winners logo (and get associated PR benefits), receive a certificate and/or an award and get an opportunity to attend the awards ceremony.

Costs that could be incurred by entrants are:

1    If you get shortlisted and visited by one of our judges, any costs incurred will need to be met by the entrant as outlined in here

2    If we are able to hold a "real world" awards ceremony tickets will be available to purchase to attend.