Frequently asked questions

Find answers to frequently asked questions about the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence, from applications to the awards ceremony.

a staff member showing a customer a map in an attraction shop

Alex Hare

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the unprecedented impact it has had on our industry, there have been changes to the 2020/21 and 2021/22 Awards cycles. 


2020/21 Awards cycle


As a result of only a few local competitions running and naming winners, the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence will not run in 2021.


The following competitions ran full awards competitions for the 2020/21 awards cycle (now closed for applications):


South West Tourism Awards (including Bristol, Bath & Somerset; Devon; Dorset and Cornwall Tourism Awards)

White Rose Awards

Beautiful South Awards

Winners from these local competitions will be recognised at a local level only.


2021/22 Awards cycle


With the agreement of the Awards Steering Group, planning is underway for the 2021/22 awards cycle, which aims to see a return to the awards format successfully followed for the 2019/20 cycle. Local competitions may open for applications for this cycle from May 2021, timescales will vary by competition.


This awards cycle will be kept under on-going review.


Any tourism business located in a destination that has an aligned competition to the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence that meets the minimum entry criteria: “Directly involved in tourism, making a contribution to the visitor economy with a significant proportion of business generated by people visiting from outside the local area.” Category-specific eligibility requirements can be found on the categories page.

Local awards competitions may decide to charge an entry fee, although the majority are free or only charge non-members to apply. It is free to be put forward to the national VisitEngland Awards for Excellence as a local winner.

Your route to the national tourism awards is via your local awards competition. Winners at local level will automatically be put forward to national judging. Find your local competition.

To ensure a level playing field, all applicants need to succeed in their local competition in order to progress to the national awards. VisitEngland is liaising with destinations that do not currently offer local awards to offer support in setting up a competition.

Applications direct to the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence are no longer possible.

If there is currently no local competition in your area, you may wish to contact your local Destination Organisation to notify them of your interest in them establishing a local competition aligned with the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence.

Please contact your local tourism award organisers.

You can decide whether to apply to one or more local awards if you are eligible, as all associated local awards feed up to the national VisitEngland Awards for Excellence. Please note that some local awards may have certain terms and conditions that prevent you from applying if you have already applied to another awards programme in your area.

Please contact your local tourism award organisers in the first instance.


All applications, regardless of which local competition you are applying for, are judged inline with the same guidelines. Feedback is given to every entrant on how they can improve their application.

Once all entries have been scored, a shortlist is created to help determine the overall local winner. Some competitions may carry out judging visits to all applicants, while others may choose to visit a selection.

Local winners are automatically put forward to the national VisitEngland Awards for Excellence. More information on the national judging process will be announced shortly.

Every applicant is judged within the size and context of the business and ultimately against customer expectations. For example, previously a fish and chip shop has successfully competed at national level against a luxury hotel restaurant in the Taste of England category.

All applicants will receive feedback on how to improve their application as a minimum. Local awards competitions may provide further feedback – please contact your awards organiser for details.

In some local competitions a selection of business may receive visits. However receiving a visit does not necessarily mean that you will be shortlisted.

No. Local winners of core categories will automatically feed up to the national awards.

There are nearly 20 local awards competitions that feed up to the national judging, which take place at different times throughout the year. Allowing local winners whose competition happens earlier in the awards cycle to amend or add to their original application may create an unfair advantage over those whose win is only announced very shortly before national judging takes place.

National finalists have now been announced. 

National awards ceremony

We were delighted to announce and celebrate the winners of the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence 2020 at a virtual event on Monday 17 August 2020. You can watch the ceremony recording on YouTube.

National Awards framework

No. We work in collaboration with local awards competitions to set the core categories, eligibility criteria and application forms to create a consistent awards programme. The administration of the local awards competitions, including local judging and award ceremonies, is carried out by the local competition organisers.

Any local awards competition wishing to feed their winners up to the national VisitEngland Awards for Excellence must follow set rules regarding core categories, eligibility criteria, application forms and the judging process. If for any reason a local awards competition is unable to fulfil these requirements, regrettably they are unable to submit their winners to the national awards. We are happy to work with local award organisers to help them meet the minimum requirements.

The VisitEngland Awards for Excellence sets core categories for every awards cycle, in collaboration with the Tourim Awards Steering Group. Local award organisers may choose to add as many additional categories at local level as they wish, specific to their destination’s tourism offer.