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Three Leicester and Leicestershire finalists in VisitEngland’s Awards for Excellence

VisitEngland, the national tourist board has announced the finalists for the Awards for Excellence 2016 with Attenborough Arts Centre, The Dandelion Hideaway and King Richard III Partnership representing Leicester and Leicestershire.

The winners will be announced at the Awards ceremony on Tuesday 8 March at the Winter Gardens, Blackpool, during English Tourism Week.

Working collaboratively with industry, VisitEngland’s Awards for Excellence inspire and motivate businesses to become outstanding leaders in the industry.

The Leicester and Leicestershire finalists are:

• Attenborough Arts Centre – Access for All category

• The Dandelion Hideaway – Self Catering Holiday Provider category

• King Richard III Partnership – Tourism Experience category

All finalists will receive either a Gold, Silver, Bronze or Highly Commended Award and must wait until the Awards ceremony to discover which award they will receive. The three city and county finalists have all been re-judged by VisitEngland following Gold award wins at the Leicester and Leicestershire Tourism in Excellence Awards in November 2015, hosted by Leicester Shire Promotions.

The King Richard lll Partnership is made up of Leicester City Council, Leicester Cathedral, Leicestershire County Council and the University of Leicester. It has been nominated for a Gold Award in the Tourism Experience category, for the reinterment of King Richard lll, which took place in March 2015.

Speaking on behalf of the King Richard lll Partnership, Sarah Harrison, Leicester City Council's city centre director said: "The reinterment of King Richard lll was an incredible event which drew the eyes of the world to Leicester and Leicestershire in a way we've never experienced before. "The event has significantly raised Leicester and Leicestershire’s profile as an exciting tourism destination, and our aim is to build on that success to ensure the city and county continue to benefit from it for many years to come."

Sharon Earp from The Dandelion Hideaway said: “We are truly humbled and delighted to have been shortlisted in these prestigious awards, really the crème de la crème of British tourism for the third year running. We are proud to be flying the flag for Leicestershire and for farming!”

Speaking on behalf of University of Leicester’s Attenborough Arts Centre, Director, Michaela Butter MBE said: “Attenborough Arts Centre is delighted to have been selected for VisitEngland’s awards in recognition of our pioneering work in widening access to the arts. This award recognises the potential of our fantastic new gallery spaces to enhance the tourist experience in Leicester, allowing those with disabled friends and family members to actively engage in our activities. We know that our former patron Lord Attenborough would have been so proud and delighted that we have been nominated, and our new patron, his son Michael Attenborough will be ecstatic!”

Martin Peters, Chief Executive of Leicester Shire Promotions added: “We’re delighted that these three local Gold award winners have made it through to the national VisitEngland finals. Their successful qualification for the national tourism finals is another show of strength for Leicester and Leicestershire’s growing reputation as a major UK visitor destination.”

“Awards for Excellence finalists exemplify outstanding tourism talent and distinguished businesses throughout England,” said Sally Balcombe, CEO of VisitBritain and VisitEngland. “We received over 400 truly impressive applications this year and there’s absolutely no doubt those shortlisted are a representatives of the best in the industry who place delivering an unforgettable experience to visitors in England at the heart of their business operations. I’d like to congratulate all finalists and wish them the very best of luck on Awards night at the Winter Gardens, Blackpool.”

To find out more and book tickets visit www.visitenglandwards.org