Tourism Superstar Award and 13 others announced at Pride in Thanet Awards

The winners of this year’s Pride in Thanet Tourism Awards were announced on Monday 27 March at a glittering awards ceremony held at The Pavilion in Broadstairs and attended by around 200 local tourism professionals.

The Pride in Thanet Tourism Awards, run by Thanet District Council, recognises those in the local tourism industry who go the extra mile to deliver excellent customer service.  The awards take place each year as part of English Tourism Week.

Awards were given out for 14 categories and presented by Diane Burke, Commercial Director for Southeastern Railway, who sponsor the awards, and  Chairman of Thanet District Council, Reverend Stuart Piper.

Diane Burke, Commercial Director at Southeastern said: “A huge congratulations to everyone involved, these awards are a great way to recognise those who work hard work and show great passion for making our community a wonderful place to be. Each year we’re impressed with the calibre of entrants and winners, and we’re tremendously proud to have one our people, Amanda Hart, selected as Transport Employee of the Year.” 

The winners, selected by a panel from just under 1,000 nominations are:

  • Transport Employee of the Year – Amanda Hart, Margate Train Station
  • Leisure Employee of the Year – Ian and Donna Burdock, Club World
  • Accommodation Employee of the Year – David Dray, Royal Harbour Hotel
  • Non-Serviced Accommodation Employee of the Year – Emma Barrowcliffe and Mark Salter, Nethercourt Touring Park
  • Hospitality Employee of the Year – Raushan Ara Rahman, Ramsgate Tandoori
  • Café Employee of the Year – Abigail Lightfoot, Café G
  • Attraction Employee of the Year – Gill Gilmour, Ramsgate Tunnels
  • Team of the Year – Powell-Cotton Museum, Quex House and Gardens
  • Volunteer of the Year – Thanet Coastal Wardens
  • Retail Employee of the Year – Suzy Humphries, Nice Things
  • Special Award – Debbie Fifield, Beach within Reach
  • Hospitality Student of the Year – Karl Beverly, East Kent College
  • Customer Service Student of the Year – Taylor Fielder, East Kent College
  • Thanet Tourism Superstar – Sam Watling, Revolution Skatepark

The Thanet Tourism Superstar Award was a brand new category for this year and differs from others in that nominations were from both visitors and other local tourism businesses.  Winning the Thanet Tourism Superstar Award came as a total surprise for Sam who said:

“I had no idea, I am completely overwhelmed.  I started working at Revolution Skatepark when I left school and have now been there for 10 years; I love every single part of my job.  I can’t believe I’ve won the new Thanet Tourism Superstar Award.”

Sam received an engraved glass, Thanet Tourism Superstar award, a bottle of Chapel Down sparkling wine, four off-peak tickets valid on the High Speed service from Southeastern, P&O ferry crossing tickets for a car and up to 9 passengers courtesy of the Isle of Thanet Gazette, plus a Kent attractions pass and an enhanced entry on www.visitkent.co.uk from Visit Kent.

Sam will now be put forward for the VisitEngland National Tourism Superstar Awards later this year, which will be announced during English Tourism Week next spring.

Guest speaker at the event was Shane Godwin, Director of Commercial Operations at East Kent College.  Shane highlighted the importance of good customer service and how the work his team do at the college, and the training opportunities the students have through the new Yarrow Hotel, helps ensure a consistently high standard of staff for the many local hospitality businesses.

Rob Kenyon, Director of Community Services, who gave the welcome address last night said:

“Thanet is the UK’s fastest growing tourism destination, with a 19% growth in its visitor economy, so it was fantastic to celebrate the huge range and diversity of businesses that make up the district’s successful tourism industry.  The prestigious Pride in Thanet Tourism Awards are always eagerly anticipated and I would like to thank all the winners for their commitment to excellence and quality standards which make our area stand out as a ‘must visit’ destination.”

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Caption (below)- From left: Diane Burke, Southeastern, Thanet Toursim Superstar Sam Watling, with TDC Chairman, Cllr Stuart Piper.

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