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Region’s tourism heroes are finalists in landmark awards

By Discover Shropshire & Telford, 21 February 2020, 16:04PM

Discover Shropshire & Telford today revealed that some of the best attractions, venues and experiences that the destination has to offer will engage in a titanic battle for silverware later this month in the inaugural West Midlands Tourism Awards, the region’s biggest celebration of the visitor economy.

Shropshire is guaranteed to bring home an award at the end of the evening, with a clean sweep of finalists in the Self Catering Accommodation of the Year category.

Yet there is a David-and-Goliath battle for Experience of the Year, with Craven Arms’ textile artist Bobby Britnell going up against motoring giant Jaguar Land Rover and the Royal Shakespeare Company.

The awards, run by the West Midlands Growth Company (WMGC) in collaboration with their regional destinations, will celebrate the success of tourism businesses across the region and promote the strength of the business and leisure tourism offer, its venues, people, experiences and accommodation.

The nominations come in a landmark year as Telford & Wrekin Council, the lead organisation for destination management and visitor economy development for Telford and the wider Shropshire region, celebrates its 35th year of investment, growth and success in visitor economy.    

Carolyn Healy, Cabinet Member for Visitor Economy & World Heritage for Telford & Wrekin Council said it was a real feather in the county’s cap to receive so many nominations.

“It’s a huge tribute to our region to see so many brilliant businesses in the final,” she praised.

“Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin can be rightly proud of the people who will be representing them and it’s even more pleasing to know we can attend the awards with a guarantee that at least one of the trophies will be coming home.”

Penny Black Cottage in Ironbridge, Ironbridge View Townhouse and Burlton Cottages on the edge of Shrewsbury will compete for Self Catering Accommodation of the Year.

Broome Park Farm in Cleobury Mortimer will be hoping to take away the trophy for B&B and Guest House of the Year.

Hencote will take on Etties Field, Hill Farm Glamping and Hopley's Family Camping in the race for the Camping, Glamping, Holiday Park of the Year prize, while The Coracle Micro Pub in the Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site will battle against The Howard Arms and the Millstone Hare for the coveted Pub of the Year title.

The awards will be handed out on February 26 during a glittering ceremony held at the Great Hall, University of Birmingham.

With Brexit hampering travel plans, staycations are once again believed to be top of most people’s agenda for 2020 and destinations like Shropshire are set to benefit from this trend as more visitors seek escape breaks and days out to England’s cultural gems where culture, adventure and countryside abound.

Carolyn Healy went on to say: “We are thrilled for every one of the finalists because behind every great business lies great people.

“The diversity of our tourism offer in this region is stunning and these finalists are just a small sample of the incredible tourism gems we have in every town and village here, from the Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site to Telford, Shrewsbury and the Shropshire Hills.

“We are rightly proud of their achievements in getting to this stage and the sheer number of finalists recognises that Shropshire and Telford are among England’s top-of-the-class destinations for tourism.”

The awards also serve to highlight the importance of tourism’s contribution to the local economy, currently generating over £800m to Shropshire, attracting over 13million visitors per annum.  Discover Shropshire, along with its local members, industry and national partners, seeks to grow the visitor economy over the coming 10 years, using major events including Birmingham Commonwealth Games 2022 and powerful national marketing as a springboard.

All 15 winners from the West Midlands Tourism Awards 2020 will automatically feed into the VisitEngland Tourism Awards for Excellence 2020 for the chance to be recognised as a national winner.