Leicestershire Tourism & Hospitality Awards 2024
Eligibility criteria & judging processes

Read the eligibility criteria carefully and information about the judging process as you may need to provide vouchers if your application is shortlisted.  If you have any questions about your eligibility for a category then please get in touch and we'll help you decide which category to apply for.
The closing date for applications is 13th September 2024, except for Small and Large Attraction, the closing date for these applications (online only) is 30th July 2024.

B&B and Guest House

Recognises bed and breakfasts, guest houses, inns with rooms or other similar serviced accommodation businesses that provide fabulous service and create great memories for their guests.

Eligibility 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.
  • Breakfast must be available on site, adjacent or close to the premises.
  • Businesses may include bed and breakfasts, guest houses, inns, pubs and restaurants with rooms.
  • Serviced accommodation businesses may consider this category or the Small Hotel of the Year category, choosing the one that best suits their business and only entering one.
  • Businesses that serve food must have a minimum food hygiene rating of three out of five. The competition organisers reserve the right to refuse an application if this minimum requirement is not met at any point prior to the awards ceremony. An exception is made for new businesses who have not yet been graded.
  • Businesses that have been trading for at least three months and up to two years when applications open, are strongly recommended to apply to the New Tourism Business of the Year category before considering applying to any other categories. For the purpose of eligibility for this competition, ‘trading’ means serving customers. If the business has not been trading this long, then they will need to wait to apply to the competition in 2025/26.
  • Applications from a chain or group operator must relate to a single site and not multiple sites. 

Judging process

Apply for this category online.

If shortlisted, judges will arrange a pre-booked announced day visit (including breakfast) at no cost to the judge.

Small Hotel

Recognises small to medium serviced accommodation businesses that offer a fantastic welcome, memorable guest experiences and the highest standards in everything they do.  

Eligibility 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.
  • This is a broad category for all types and styles of serviced accommodation except large ‘full service’ hotels, bed & breakfast and guest house accommodation, which have separate categories.
  • Offers a selection of hotel services, which are likely to include some or all of: reception, restaurant, bar, dinner and breakfast. This may include larger guest houses, boutique accommodation, inns, pubs and restaurants with rooms.
  • Usually offers between 12 and 35 bedrooms. However, serviced accommodation businesses with fewer than 12 or more than 35 bedrooms can apply if they consider themselves appropriate for this category.
  • A serviced accommodation business may consider this category, Large Hotel of the Year or B&B and Guest House of the Year – choosing the category that best suits their business and only entering one.
  • A serviced apartment business must apply via the Self Catering Accommodation of the Year category and not this category.
  • Businesses that serve food must have a minimum food hygiene rating of three out of five. The competition organisers reserve the right to refuse an application if this minimum requirement is not met at any point prior to the awards ceremony. An exception is made for new businesses who have not yet been graded.
  • Businesses that have been trading for at least three months and up to two years when applications open, are strongly recommended to apply to the New Tourism Business of the Year category before considering applying to any other categories. For the purpose of eligibility for this competition, ‘trading’ means serving customers. If the business has not been trading this long, then they will need to wait to apply to the competition in 2025/26.
  • Applications from a chain or group operator must relate to a single site and not multiple sites. 

Judging process

Apply for this category online.

If shortlisted a judge will arrange an unannounced and overnight visit (including breakfast, plus lunch or evening meal, where provided). Shortlisted applicants will need to provide a voucher or means of payment for the judge in a way they are able to remain anonymous.

Large Hotel

Recognises large full-service hotels that provide exemplary service, a top-quality food offering and a stay that guests will remember for years to come. 

Eligibility 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.
  • A full service hotel – that should include a reception/ check-in area and breakfast as well as a restaurant/ provision for dinner where there is a market need.
  • Offers a minimum of 35 bedrooms. However, a business with fewer than 35 bedrooms can apply if it is a full service hotel with extensive facilities.
  • A serviced accommodation business may consider this category, Small Hotel of the Year or B&B and Guest House of the Year – choosing the category that best suits their business and only entering one.
  • A serviced apartment business must apply via the Self Catering Accommodation of the Year category and not this category.
  • Businesses that serve food must have a minimum food hygiene rating of three out of five. The competition organisers reserve the right to refuse an application if this minimum requirement is not met at any point prior to the awards ceremony. An exception is made for new businesses who have not yet been graded.
  • Businesses that have been trading for at least three months and up to two years when applications open, are strongly recommended to apply to the New Tourism Business of the Year category before considering applying to any other categories. For the purpose of eligibility for this competition, ‘trading’ means serving customers. If the business has not been trading this long, then they will need to wait to apply to the competition in 2025/26.
  • Applications from a chain or group operator must relate to a single site and not multiple sites.  

Judging process

Apply for this category online.

If shortlisted a judge will arrange an unannounced and overnight visit (including breakfast, plus lunch or evening meal, where provided). Shortlisted applicants will need to provide a voucher or means of payment for the judge in a way they are able to remain anonymous.

Camping, Glamping and Holiday Park

Recognises holiday parks, sites and villages that provide exceptional guest experiences across static vans, touring pitches, shepherd's huts and more.

Eligibility 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.
  • Businesses whose main offer is holiday parks, sites, villages, camping and glamping.
  • Holiday parks/sites with static vans, touring pitches, tent pitches, glamping and other accommodation such as shepherd’s huts, or any combination.
  • A non-serviced accommodation business may consider this category or Self Catering Accommodation of the Year – choosing the category that best suits their business and only entering one.
  • Sites ranging from small static caravan parks with no added services and facilities, up to larger sites with many on-site facilities, some of which might be open to the public.
  • Holiday villages offering room only or self catering accommodation e.g. lodges and chalets. A holiday village is typically a complex with a range of facilities and activities available.
  • Holiday parks that consist entirely of units that are owned may apply if used by owners for holiday purposes only (not as a permanent residence).
  • Businesses that serve food must have a minimum food hygiene rating of three out of five. The competition organisers reserve the right to refuse an application if this minimum requirement is not met at any point prior to the awards ceremony. An exception is made for new businesses who have not yet been graded.
  • Businesses that have been trading for at least three months and up to two years when applications open, are strongly recommended to apply to the New Tourism Business of the Year category before considering applying to any other categories. For the purpose of eligibility for this competition, ‘trading’ means serving customers. If the business has not been trading this long, then they will need to wait to apply to the competition in 2025/26.
  • Applications from a chain or group operator must relate to a single site and not multiple sites. 

Judging process

Apply for this category online.

If shortlisted a judge will arrange a pre-booked announced day visit. The judge will require to see as much of the site and as many units as possible.

Self Catering Accommodation

Recognises self catering accommodation businesses that provide the highest quality stays and help to create fabulous memories for all their guests, from rural romantic hideaways to family-friendly city breaks.

Eligibility 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.
  • 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.
  • A non-serviced accommodation business may consider this category or Camping, Glamping and Holiday Park of the Year – choosing the category that best suits their business and only entering one.
  • 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 single self-catering property or a collection of self-catering properties in one location (on a single site) owned or managed by the same business and of a similar quality.
  • Businesses or agencies the operate multiple properties in 2 or more locations are invited to submit applications that relate to only one named property or location (up to a maximum of 3 separate applications per category). Any award must then be associated with this one property or location, and not the agency as whole.
  • 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.
  • Businesses that serve food must have a minimum food hygiene rating of three out of five. The competition organisers reserve the right to refuse an application if this minimum requirement is not met at any point prior to the awards ceremony. An exception is made for new businesses who have not yet been graded.
  • Businesses that have been trading for at least three months and up to two years when applications open, are strongly recommended to apply to the New Tourism Business of the Year category before considering applying to any other categories
  • For the purpose of eligibility for this competition, ‘trading’ means serving customers. If the business has not been trading this long, then they will need to wait to apply to the competition in 2025/26
  • Applications from a chain or group operator must relate to a single site and not multiple sites. 

Judging process

Apply for this category online.

If shortlisted a judge will arrange a pre-booked announced day visit. The judge will be required to see as much of the site and as many units as possible.

Small Visitor Attraction

Recognises small visitor attractions that leave visitors with lasting memories and excel in customer service.

Eligibility 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.
  • Meets the visitor attraction definition:  “…a permanently established excursion destination, a primary purpose of which is to allow access for entertainment, interest, or education and can include places of worship; not primarily a retail or food service outlet or a venue for sporting, theatrical, or film performances rather than being primarily a retail outlet or a venue for sporting, theatrical, or film performances. It must be open to the public, with or without prior booking, for published periods each year, and should be capable of attracting day visitors or tourists as well as local residents.”
  • Attracts 75,000 visitors or fewer per year or employs 10 or fewer full-time equivalent members of staff.
  • Is capable of attracting day visitors, tourist and local residents.
  • May occasionally require pre-booking for a visit or activity.
  • Retail outlets, sporting venues and theatres are not eligible to apply unless there is also a tour, museum or exhibition element included.
  • Guided tours that are not based within a visitor attraction should apply for the relevant Experience of the Year category.
  • Businesses that are eligible to apply to both the small or large visitor attraction of the year category, must choose the one that best suits their business and only enter one.
  • Businesses that serve food must have a minimum food hygiene rating of three out of five. The competition organisers reserve the right to refuse an application if this minimum requirement is not met at any point prior to the awards ceremony. An exception is made for new businesses who have not yet been graded.
  • Businesses that have been trading for at least three months and up to two years when applications open, are strongly recommended to apply to the New Tourism Business of the Year category before considering applying to any other categories. For the purpose of eligibility for this competition, ‘trading’ means serving customers. If the business has not been trading this long, then they will need to wait to apply to the competition in 2025/26.
  • Applications from a chain or group operator must relate to a single site and not multiple sites. 

Judging process

Apply for this category online.

If shortlisted a judge will arrange an unannounced day visit with family.  The judge will require a voucher or tickets to use when arranging the visit so that they can remain anonymous.  This will be arranged at the time of shortlisting.

Large Visitor Attraction

Recognises large visitor attractions that provide truly memorable visitor experiences and demonstrate excellence across every aspect of the business.

Eligibility 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.
  • Meets the visitor attraction definition:  “…a permanently established excursion destination, a primary purpose of which is to allow access for entertainment, interest, or education and can include places of worship; not primarily a retail or food service outlet or a venue for sporting, theatrical, or film performances. It must be open to the public, with or without prior booking, for published periods each year, and should be capable of attracting day visitors or tourists as well as local residents.”
  • Attracts 75,000 visitors or more per year or, employs more than 10 full-time equivalent members of staff.
  • Is capable of attracting day visitors, tourist and local residents.
  • May occasionally require pre-booking for a visit or activity.
  • Retail outlets, sporting venues and theatres are not eligible to apply unless there is also a tour, museum or exhibition element included.
  • Guided tours that are not based within a visitor attraction should apply for the relevant Experience of the Year category.
  • Businesses that are eligible to apply to both the small or large visitor attraction of the year category, must choose the one that best suits their business and only enter one.
  • Businesses that serve food must have a minimum food hygiene rating of three out of five. The competition organisers reserve the right to refuse an application if this minimum requirement is not met at any point prior to the awards ceremony. An exception is made for new businesses who have not yet been graded.
  • Businesses that have been trading for at least three months and up to two years when applications open, are strongly recommended to apply to the New Tourism Business of the Year category before considering applying to any other categories. For the purpose of eligibility for this competition, ‘trading’ means serving customers. If the business has not been trading this long, then they will need to wait to apply to the competition in 2025/26.
  • Applications from a chain or group operator must relate to a single site and not multiple sites

Judging process

Apply for this category online.

If shortlisted a judge will arrange an unannounced day visit with family.  The judge will require a voucher or tickets to use when arranging the visit so that they can remain anonymous.   This will be arranged at the time of shortlisting.

Pub of the Year

Recognises pubs that make a significant contribution to tourism in their area, with a unique offering, fabulous atmosphere, excellent service and is a destination in it’s own right.

Eligibility 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.
  • Applicants that operate multiple sites are invited to submit applications that relate to only one pub (up to a maximum of 3 separate applications per category).
  • Any award must then be associated with this one pub, and not the chain/group as whole.
  • Pubs in this category may or may not serve food.
  • Has a unique selling point that might be locally sourced, home-grown or home-made food and drink; a rich heritage; theme or entertainment. N.B. Any pub offering accommodation can also enter the B&B and Guest House of the Year or the Small Hotel of Year – choosing the category that best suits their business and only entering one. Accommodation is not judged within the Pub of the Year category.
  • Businesses that serve food must have a minimum food hygiene rating of three out of five. The competition organisers reserve the right to refuse an application if this minimum requirement is not met at any point prior to the awards ceremony. An exception is made for new businesses who have not yet been graded.
  • Businesses that have been trading for at least three months and up to two years when applications open, are strongly recommended to apply to the New Tourism Business of the Year category before considering applying to any other categories. For the purpose of eligibility for this competition, ‘trading’ means serving customers. If the business has not been trading this long, then they will need to wait to apply to the competition in 2025/26.
  • Applications from a chain or group operator must relate to a single site and not multiple sites 

Judging process

Apply for this category online.

If shortlisted a judge will arrange an unannounced visit with 1 x guest.  The judge will require a voucher or tickets to use when arranging the visit so that they can remain anonymous.   This will be arranged at the time of shortlisting.

Experience of the Year

Recognises providers of memorable and immersive activities for visitors to participate in, from cooking masterclasses to woodland nature tours.

Eligibility 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.
  • The application must relate to one named experience only. For businesses that offer multiple experiences, you are invited to submit applications that relate to only one experience (ideally your ‘hero’ or most popular experience). (Any award must then be associated with this one experience).
  • Any visitor experience that requires participation in an activity.
  • The experience may involve a host/teacher/instructor/guide or may be undertaken independently.
  • Likely to be immersive and interactive.
  • Typically, experiences will be learning, adventure or relaxation based.
  • Likely to fall under one of these themes: Wellness and well-being (e.g. spa).
  • Sporting and active (e.g. caving).
  • Environment (e.g. beach cleaning, dry stone walling).
  • Arts & culture (e.g. guided tours, pottery making).
  • Culinary (e.g. cookery courses).
  • Food service experiences are not eligible for this category and should consider the Taste of England Award category, which assesses the quality of food and drink served to the visitor.
  • An experience located at a visitor attraction may only apply to this category if it can be booked separately to the main attraction and can be accessed without the need to pay for or visit the main attraction e.g. the Bombay Sapphire Distillery is eligible to apply for the Large Visitor Attraction of the Year category, which includes its ‘Discovery Experience’ as part of the standard admission ticket (therefore it would not be eligible for this category), but they could enter their ‘Gin Cocktail Masterclass’ within the Experience of the Year category as this is a separate experience not available to all visitors. For another example, an outdoor activity centre (like Go Ape) providing a selection of separately booked high ropes experiences can enter their ‘hero’ or most popular experience (Treetop Challenge) as one application.
  • A boat tour business (like Serenity Farne Island Boat Tours) providing a selection of separately booked boat tours can enter their ‘hero’ or most popular experience (Holy Island Trip) as one application.
  • The experience must be open to the public/ non-residents – i.e. participation is not restricted to residents, unless residency/ over-night accommodation is part of the itinerary for the named experience.
  • Businesses that serve food must have a minimum food hygiene rating of three out of five. The competition organisers reserve the right to refuse an application if this minimum requirement is not met at any point prior to the awards ceremony. An exception is made for new businesses who have not yet been graded.
  • The named experience must be taking place during the published judging dates and must occur on a regular and ongoing basis. One-off, seasonal or short-term experiences are classed as events and festival, and as such, are not eligible to apply to this category.
  • Businesses of all sizes can apply as this category is judged within the context and style of the business.
  • Businesses that have been trading for at least three months and up to two years when applications open, are strongly recommended to apply to the New Tourism Business of the Year category before considering applying to any other categories.
  • For the purpose of eligibility for this competition, ‘trading’ means serving customers. If the business has not been trading this long, then they will need to wait to apply to the competition in 2025/26

Judging process

Apply for this category online.

If shortlisted a judge will arrange an unannounced visit with 1 x guest.  The judge will require a voucher or tickets to use when arranging the visit so that they can remain anonymous.  This will be arranged at the time of shortlisting.

New Tourism Business of the Year

Recognises high performing new tourism businesses, demonstrating excellent understanding of their market, exceeding the expectations of their customers with clear plans for future development.

Eligibility criteria

  • Only tourism businesses who directly serve the end-users (i.e. the tourist/ visitor/ guest) and who control the visitor experience are eligible.
  • Applicants that operate multiple sites (e.g. chains, self catering agencies) are invited to submit applications that relate to only one site (up to a maximum of 3 separate applications per category).  Any award must then be associated with this one property or location, and not the agency/ chain as whole).

This includes a number of different types of business:

  • Accommodation e.g. hotels, bed & breakfasts, guest houses, self-catering/serviced apartments, hostels, holiday boats, camping, caravanning, glamping, lodges, shepherds huts, chalets.
  • Hospitality i.e. a single food and beverage service business e.g. pub, restaurant, café, tea room, coffee shop, bistros, food and drink markets, kiosks & street food (in a regular location). [For these purposes the definition of a food and drink market is a collection of independent food and drink establishments with ancillary services (e.g. parking area, toilets, security, visitor information) and maintained by a management firm as an entity.].
  • Transport services e.g. rail, road, water, airports and rental.
  • Guided tours.
  • Cultural services, e.g. theatres, musical entertainment venues, sporting venues.
  • Business events venues.
  • Sporting, adventure and recreational activities.
  • Retail i.e. a single retail outlet or shopping centre that attracts a significant number of people visiting from outside the local area [For these purposes the definition of a shopping centre is a collection of independent retail stores with ancillary services (e.g. parking area, toilets, security, visitor information) and maintained by a management firm as an entity.].
  • Businesses providing supporting services to visitors in-person within the destination e.g. visitor information providers, left luggage services.
  • Visitor attractions that meet the visitor attraction definition: a permanently established excursion destination, a primary purpose of which is to allow access for entertainment, interest, or education and can include places of worship; rather than being primarily a retail outlet or a venue for sporting, theatrical, or film performances. It must be open to the public, with or without prior booking, for published periods each year, and should be capable of attracting day visitors or tourists as well as local residents.
  •  Has been trading for at least three months and up to two years when applications open (for first applicable local/regional competition). For the purpose of eligibility for this competition, ‘trading’ means serving customers. If the business has not been trading this long, then they will need to wait to apply to the competition in 2025/2026.
  • An existing business that has diversified by adding a new product at the same location or a different location may only apply if the new product is marketed as a standalone operation, and is available independently to the other products offered by the business. An existing business that has undergone a refurbishment or re-vamp would not be eligible.
  • An existing business with new owners will only be eligible if a fundamental change to the business has occurred within two years of the new owners starting trading. A fundamental change would include at least two of the following:

   - significant investment 

   - rebrand/ name change/ change to Companies House registration 

    - change in target market

  • An application can relate to an event/ festival that was held in 2023 or 2024. If it was held in 2023, it must take place again at least once between 01 January 2024 and 31 March 2025.  The event/ festival must have the intention to be re-occurring (taking place at least once every two years), and by the time of national judging (March/April 2025) must have a date already confirmed and published for an event/festival to be held after 31 March 2025.
  • For event companies that run several events/ festivals, the application must relate specifically to one named event/ festival.
  • Businesses that serve food must have a minimum food hygiene rating of three out of five. The competition organisers reserve the right to refuse an application if this minimum requirement is not met at any point prior to the awards ceremony. An exception is made for new businesses who have not yet been graded.
  • Events and festivals, if they fulfil the following criteria:
  • Businesses of all sizes can apply as this category is judged within the context and style of the business.
  • If the business has previously won (overall winner/ Gold winner) New Tourism Business of the Year, they are not eligible to enter this category again.
  • Applications from a chain or group operator must relate to a single site and not multiple sites. 

Judging process

Apply for this category online.

If shortlisted, judges will arranged a pre-booked announced day visit

Taste of England Award – Special Occasion Dining

Recognises businesses within the tourism industry that offer outstanding cuisine, innovative service and excellence throughout their entire operation. 

Eligibility 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.
  • Food service businesses including restaurants, hotel restaurants, and venues that offer special occasion dining. Local categories are available for cafés, tea rooms, pubs, coffee shops, bistros etc.
  • Ideally offers the option for table service, or at least a dining area with table and chairs.
  • Access to toilet facilities that are either within or adjacent to the business.
  • The business must be open to the public/ non-residents and does not require payment of an admission fee to access the eatery.
  • A single site from an independent, chain or group operator.
  • Businesses that serve food must have a minimum food hygiene rating of three out of five. The competition organisers reserve the right to refuse an application if this minimum requirement is not met at any point prior to the awards ceremony. An exception is made for new businesses who have not yet been graded.
  • Food related events and festivals are not eligible to apply.
  • Businesses of all sizes can apply as this category is judged within the context and style of the business.
  • Businesses that have been trading for at least three months and up to two years when applications open, are strongly recommended to apply to the New Tourism Business of the Year category before considering applying to any other categories. For the purpose of eligibility for this competition, ‘trading’ means serving customers. If the business has not been trading this long, then they will need to wait to apply to the competition in 2025/26
  • Applications from a chain or group operator must relate to a single site and not multiple sites

    Judging process

Apply for this category online.

If shortlisted a judge will arrange an unannounced visit with 1 x guest.  The judge will require a voucher or tickets to use when arranging the visit so that they can remain anonymous.  This will be arranged at the time of shortlisting.

Accessible & Inclusive Tourism Award

Recognises tourism businesses that excel in providing an inclusive customer experience, particularly for those with accessibility requirements. 

Eligibility 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.
  • Only tourism businesses who directly serve the end-users (i.e. the tourist/ visitor/ guest) and who control the visitor experience are eligible.
  • Applicants that operate multiple sites (e.g. chains, self catering agencies) are invited to submit applications that relate to only one site (up to a maximum of 3 separate applications per category). Any award must then be associated with this one property or location, and not the agency/ chain as whole.
  • This includes a number of different types of business:
  • Accommodation e.g. hotels, bed & breakfasts, guest houses, self-catering/serviced apartments, hostels, holiday boats, camping, caravanning, glamping, lodges, shepherds huts, chalets
  • Hospitality i.e. a single food and beverage service business e.g. pub, restaurant, café, tea room, coffee shop, bistros, food and drink markets, kiosks & street food (in a regular location). [For these purposes the definition of a food and drink market is a collection of independent food and drink establishments with ancillary services (e.g. parking area, toilets, security, visitor information) and maintained by a management firm as an entity.]
  • Transport services e.g. rail, road, water, airports and rental
  • Guided tours
  • Cultural services, e.g. theatres, musical entertainment venues, sporting venues
  • Business events venues
  • Sporting, adventure and recreational activities
  • Retail i.e. a single retail outlet or shopping centre that attracts a significant number of people visiting from outside the local area [For these purposes the definition of a shopping centre is a collection of independent retail stores with ancillary services (e.g. parking area, toilets, security, visitor information) and maintained by a management firm as an entity.]
  • Businesses providing supporting services to visitors in-person within the destination e.g. visitor information providers, left luggage services
  • Visitor attractions that meet the visitor attraction definition: a permanently established excursion destination, a primary purpose of which is to allow access for entertainment, interest, or education and can include places of worship; rather than being primarily a retail outlet or a venue for sporting, theatrical, or film performances. It must be open to the public, with or without prior booking, for published periods each year, and should be capable of attracting day visitors or tourists as well as local residents.
  • Businesses that serve food must have a minimum food hygiene rating of three out of five. The competition organisers reserve the right to refuse an application if this minimum requirement is not met at any point prior to the awards ceremony. An exception is made for new businesses who have not yet been graded.
  • Events and festivals, if they fulfil the following criteria: An application can relate to an event/ festival that was held in 2023 or 2024. If it was held in 2023, it must take place again at least once between 01 January 2024 and 31 March 2025
  • The event/ festival must have the intention to be re-occurring (taking place at least once every two years), and by the time of national judging (March/April 2025) must have a date already confirmed and published for an event/festival to be held after 31 March 2025
  • For event companies that run several events/ festivals, the application must relate specifically to one named event/ festival
  • For the purpose of eligibility for this competition, ‘trading’ means serving customers. If the business has not been trading this long, then they will need to wait to apply to the competition in 2025/26
  • Businesses of all sizes can apply as this category is judged within the context and style of the business.
  • Businesses that have been trading for at least three months and up to two years when applications open, are strongly recommended to apply to the New Tourism Business of the Year category before considering applying to any other categories
  • Applications from a chain or group operator must relate to a single site and not multiple sites.

Judging process

Apply for this category online.

If shortlisted, judges will arrange a pre-booked announced day visit

Ethical, Responsible & Sustainable Tourism Award

Recognises tourism businesses from across the visitor economy who are truly committed to being sustainable, responsible and ethical in how they operate and interact with customers, the wider community and the environment. 

Eligibility criteria

  • Only tourism businesses who directly serve the end-users (i.e. the tourist/ visitor/ guest) and who control the visitor experience are eligible.
  • Applicants that operate multiple sites (e.g. chains, self catering agencies) are invited to submit applications that relate to only one site (up to a maximum of 3 separate applications per category). Any award must then be associated with this one property or location, and not the agency/ chain as whole.
  • This includes a number of different types of business:
  • Accommodation e.g. hotels, bed & breakfasts, guest houses, self-catering/serviced apartments, hostels, holiday boats, camping, caravanning, glamping, lodges, shepherds huts, chalets.
  • Hospitality i.e. a single food and beverage service business e.g. pub, restaurant, café, tea room, coffee shop, bistros, food and drink markets, kiosks & street food (in a regular location). [For these purposes the definition of a food and drink market is a collection of independent food and drink establishments with ancillary services (e.g. parking area, toilets, security, visitor information) and maintained by a management firm as an entity.]
  • Transport services e.g. rail, road, water, airports and rental.
  • Guided tours .
  • Cultural services, e.g. theatres, musical entertainment venues, sporting venues.
  • Business events venues.
  • Sporting, adventure and recreational activities.
  • Retail i.e. a single retail outlet or shopping centre that attracts a significant number of people visiting from outside the local area [For these purposes the definition of a shopping centre is a collection of independent retail stores with ancillary services (e.g. parking area, toilets, security, visitor information) and maintained by a management firm as an entity.].
  • Businesses providing supporting services to visitors in-person within the destination e.g. visitor information providers, left luggage services.
  • Visitor attractions that meet the visitor attraction definition: a permanently established excursion destination, a primary purpose of which is to allow access for entertainment, interest, or education and can include places of worship; rather than being primarily a retail outlet or a venue for sporting, theatrical, or film performances. It must be open to the public, with or without prior booking, for published periods each year, and should be capable of attracting day visitors or tourists as well as local residents.
  • Businesses that serve food must have a minimum food hygiene rating of three out of five. The competition organisers reserve the right to refuse an application if this minimum requirement is not met at any point prior to the awards ceremony. An exception is made for new businesses who have not yet been graded.
  • Events and festivals, if they fulfil the following criteria: An application can relate to an event/ festival that was held in 2023 or 2024. If it was held in 2023, it must take place again at least once between 01 January 2024 and 31 March 2025.
  • The event/ festival must have the intention to be re-occurring (taking place at least once every two years), and by the time of national judging (March/April 2025) must have a date already confirmed and published for an event/festival to be held after 31 March 2025.
  • For event companies that run several events/ festivals, the application must relate specifically to one named event/ festival.
  • For the purpose of eligibility for this competition, ‘trading’ means serving customers. If the business has not been trading this long, then they will need to wait to apply to the competition in 2025/26.
  • Businesses of all sizes can apply as this category is judged within the context and style of the business.
  • Businesses that have been trading for at least three months and up to two years when applications open, are strongly recommended to apply to the New Tourism Business of the Year category before considering applying to any other categories.
  • Applications from a chain or group operator must relate to a single site and not multiple sites.

Judging process

Apply for this category online.

If shortlisted, judges will arrange a pre-booked announced day visit

Business Events Venue

Recognises business events venues that demonstrate an excellent understanding of the market, exceeding the expectations of their clients and have a strategic plan for future development within this area, with clear goals. 

Eligibility 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.
  • Any venue that hosts business events (meetings, incentives, conferences, exhibitions) and actively works to increase business events business e.g. hotels, conference centres, exhibition venues, leisure venues.
  • Clients may be exclusively from UK markets or also be from international markets.
  • Businesses that serve food must have a minimum food hygiene rating of three out of five. The competition organisers reserve the right to refuse an application if this minimum requirement is not met at any point prior to the awards ceremony. An exception is made for new businesses who have not yet been graded.
  • Businesses of all sizes can apply as this category is judged within the context and style of the business.
  • Businesses that have been trading for at least three months and up to two years when applications open, are strongly recommended to apply to the New Tourism Business of the Year category before considering applying to any other categories For the purpose of eligibility for this competition, ‘trading’ means serving customers. If the business has not been trading this long, then they will need to wait to apply to the competition in 2025/26
  • Applications from a chain or group operator must relate to a single site and not multiple sites.

Judging process

Apply for this category online.

If shortlisted, judges will arrange a pre-booked announced day visit directly with you. 

Proud of our People:

Team

Rising Star

Recognises an individual or team working for a tourism business who excels in their role/s and deserves to be applauded for their work and commitment to the industry. 

Eligibility criteria 

•       Works for a business directly involved in tourism

•       Can be an individual young person developing their career with the business, or a team that makes a valuable contribution to the running of the business, depending on which category is being applied for.

•       Workers may be volunteers or paid staff.

•       May be nominated by a colleague/manager or may be a self nomination. If nominating an individual or team they must be made aware of your nomination.

•       Demonstrates commitment, passion and enthusiasm for their work and the tourism industry; exceeds expectations and is an inspiration to their colleagues.

•       Works in any area of the business; does not need to be in a customer-facing job role.

Judging process

Apply for this category using this paper application form. There is no visit by a judge required; judged from application only. This category does not go through to the VisitEngland national awards.

Dog Friendly Venue 

Recognises a venue who makes dogs and their owners welcome and able to enjoy the service and facilities on offer.  

Eligibility criteria 

•       Business must be directly involved in tourism

•       Can be a venue, tea/coffee shop, café/restaurant, event or experience.

•       Venue must demonstate that it welcomes dogs and their owners to enjoy the service and facilities on offer to other users

•       If food is available on the site businesses must have a minimum food hygiene rating of three out of five. The competition organisers reserve the right to refuse an application if this minimum requirement is not met at any point prior to the awards ceremony. An exception is made for new businesses who have not yet been graded

•       Businesses that have been trading for at least three months and up to two years when applications open are strongly recommended to apply to the VisitEngland New Tourism Business of the Year category before considering applying to any other categories

•       For the purpose of eligibility for this competition, ‘trading’ means serving customers. If the business has not been trading this long, then they will need to wait to apply to the competition in 2025/26

•       Applications from a chain or group operator must relate to a single site and not multiple sites 

Judging process

Applications for this category must be made using this paper application form. There will be a mystery visit made by a judge and their dog. This category does not go through to the VisitEngland national awards.

Leicestershire Events & Festivals:

Free Event/Festival

Event/Festival with Paid Admission

This award recognises events and festivals which give visitors lasting memories. 

Eligibility criteria 

•       Directly involved in tourism, making a contribution to the visitor economy

•       Event/festival must have taken place between 1st September 2023 and 31st August 2024.

•       Event/festival can be either an annual occurance or one-off 

Judging process

Apply for this category using this paper application form. There is no visit by a judge required; judged from application only.  This category does not go through to the VisitEngland national awards.

Taste of Leicestershire:

Breakfast

Sunday Lunch

Tearoom/Coffee Shop

Casual Dining Experience

This award recognises food and drink establishments that leave visitors with lasting memories and excel in customer service.  

Eligibility criteria 

•       Directly involved in tourism, making a contribution to the visitor economy

•       Entries are welcome for the following: Best Breakfast, Sunday Lunch, Tearoom/Coffee Shop, Casual Dining Experience. You could also consider the VisitEngland category for Taste of England if this category suits your offer (online applications only)

•       Businesses must have a minimum food hygiene rating of three out of five. The competition organisers reserve the right to refuse an application if this minimum requirement is not met at any point prior to the awards ceremony. An exception is made for new businesses who have not yet been graded.

•       A pub may consider this category or the national VisitEngland category of Pub of the Year (online applications only) – choosing the category that best suits their business and only entering one.

•       Applications from a chain or group operator must relate to a single site and not multiple sites

 

Judging process 

Apply for this category using this paper application form. If shortlisted, applicants must provide a pre-paid voucher for judge +1 including appropriate meal/drinks.

You will be judged by an unannounced visit that include appropriate meal/drinks. These local food and drink categories do not go through to the VisitEngland national awards.

Live Music Venue 

This award recognises Entertainment establishments that offer visitors great entertainment, lasting memories and which excel in customer service. 

Eligibility criteria 

•       Directly involved in tourism, making a contribution to the visitor economy

•       This category is open to theatres, community venues, arenas, pubs, etc. If in doubt if you are eligible for this category contact us for advice – info@goleicestershire.com

•       If food is available on the site businesses must have a minimum food hygiene rating of three out of five. The competition organisers reserve the right to refuse an application if this minimum requirement is not met at any point prior to the awards ceremony. An exception is made for new businesses who have not yet been graded

•       Businesses that have been trading for at least three months and up to two years when applications open are strongly recommended to apply to the New Tourism Business of the Year category before considering applying to any other categories

•       For the purpose of eligibility for this competition, ‘trading’ means serving customers. If the business has not been trading this long, then they will need to wait to apply to the competition in 2025/26

•       Applications from a chain or group operator must relate to a single site and not multiple sites 

Judging process 

Apply for this category using this paper application form. There is no visit by a judge required; judged from application only. This category does not go through to the Visit England national awards.