Tourism businesses across Devon are being encouraged to promote and celebrate their achievements and quality by entering the Devon Tourism Awards 2014 which are now open for entry.

Fresh from Devon’s success in the national VisitEngland awards, when Devon picked up more top trophies than any other county, the 2014/15 awards cycle has now started. The Awards highlight the very best across Devon’s diverse tourism industry, offering businesses and the county itself the chance to shine. They are open to all sectors of the industry across Devon, including accommodation, attractions, events, activity providers, venues and places to eat and drink.

To reflect the increasing popularity and status of the awards a number of changes have been made to the programme which is now in its 5th year. There is a new ‘Dog Friendly’ category for accommodation providers that excel in this important market and a new ‘Access and Inclusivity’ award for those that excel in avoiding barriers for visitors. Two former categories have also been split with the hotel category divided into ‘Large Hotels’ and ‘Small Hotels’ reflecting the different kinds of experience they offer, and the holiday parks split into ‘Camping & Caravanning Parks’ and ‘Holiday Villages and Resorts.’ Carolyn Custerson, Chief Executive, ERTC and Chair of Visit Devon says, “I have always valued good quality award programmes and the Devon Tourism Awards are not only a great showcase for our county, but they also create a valuable springboard to regional and national awards. The awards process provides a fantastic development tool that allows your business to be reviewed and benchmarked by independent professionals. If you want to move forwards, you need to keep fresh, you never stop learning and introducing new ideas is very important.”

Eddie Bent, Director of Headline Sponsors e-Strategy, says: “We were delighted to join the Devon national winners that went ‘all the way’ to national success last week and look forward to seeing more entries and yet further successes this year. We particularly welcome the increased emphasis placed by judges on websites and digital marketing, factors that are now central to the success of every tourism operator.”

The launch of the Devon Tourism Awards coincides with that of the Cornwall, Dorset and South West awards and comes fresh from the county’s outstanding success in this year’s national VisitEngland awards, when Devon businesses picked up 5 national awards, including 2 Golds and 1 Silvers.

Winners from the Devon awards will be fast-tracked into the South West awards, with South West winners submitted to the national VisitEngland awards. Entry is free, the programmes being funded by a range of sponsors and partners, and all entrants receive feedback.

The deadline for entering is midnight on Sunday 29th June. Full details of the tourism awards, along with details of how to enter, top tips and entry forms are at