Last week, Visit Chester & Cheshire held their annual tourism awards. There were 15 categories and Tatton Park won the award for best visitor attraction of the year. It isn’t the first time it has been successful, this being the third time this century. Receiving over 750,000 visitors each year, some of the reasons for its likely success are that it combines 50 acres of gardens, (out of 1,000 in all) a mansion, a park and it is easy to get to from two motorways. They also have a large number of events operating throughout the year and you can see those by looking at CD-Traveller’s event pages.
Of course, they weren’t the only winners. The award for the best tourism experience went to the shark dive at the Blue Planet Aquarium near Ellesmere Port. Sharks have never been one of my favorite things so I am one of the exceptions since the Aquarium even gets large numbers voting in its favorite shark category. (Bella the Black Tip Reef Shark won last years with 3,000 plus votes!)
But do these sorts of awards matter? Are they anything more than PR so the attractions, hotels and the like can drum up more business?
The answer is yes particularly when we the visitors are involved in the process. By the number of visits we make we can determine how popular something us. By staying away from less than appealing attractions, you can cause owners to buck their ideas up. And by voting for those that give good service, you encourage others to improve their standards and that makes things more attractive for all visitors. Awards are pats on the back provided that the awards are justly deserved and the public is involved in the voting.
In this area they have over 400 members who will compete to attract you to visit them, stay with them or eat at their outlets. Awards attract more visitors so to Tatton Park and the Blue Planet Aquarium well done. And also to all the other 13 winners including the Cholmondeley Pageant of Power held at the castle each year (this year, 17 & 18 July) which won best tourism event. Can it do the same again for this year? Chester Heritage Tours won the small visitor attraction of the year and the sustainable tourism award went to Chester Zoo.