Dedicated staff who have gone out of their way to ensure that visitors to Thanet have an enjoyable time were rewarded at last night’s 2012 Pride in Thanet Tourism Awards.
Taking place on the evening of Monday 12 November in the Queens Hall of Margate’s Winter Gardens, the event brought together award-winners in 11 tourism categories. All had been deemed by visitors to have ‘gone the extra mile’ in delivering outstanding customer service.
The awards nomination process began last year, with the outcome being decided by visitors. They simply had to complete postcards or fill in online nomination forms, recommending those who had delivered excellent customer service and added something positive to their overall experience.
Now in its seventh year, the Pride in Thanet Tourism Awards are organised by Thanet District Council in partnership with Visit Kent, and sponsored by the Kent Messenger Group.
Every year the competition is tough, and 2012 was no exception. But after careful consideration, the main Pride in Thanet Award went to Dave Melmoth of the Joss Bay Surf School. Established in 1998, the Joss Bay Surf School prides itself in catering to a varied customer base of all ages and abilities.
Dave said: “A fantastic award, I feel hugely privileged that customers feel they get an excellent level of service. This also comes from the support we receive from Thanet's tourism team - I've noticed that as their campaign activity increases, so do the hits on my website, in June this year it received 120,000 hits."
Dave and winners in the10 other categories received their awards from Amanda Cottrell, the Chairman of Visit Kent, and the event was compered by Johnny Lewis of Academy FM.
Chris Hespe, Head of Culture and Sport at Kent County Council was the guest speaker, who talked about his involvement with the Olympic Games, including preparation and post-Games legacy work.
The council’s Cabinet Member for Community Services, Cllr Iris Johnston introduced the evening’s proceedings, and paid tribute to all the winners.
She said: “I’m sure you will all agree, it has been an amazing year. The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, the Olympic Torch Relay and the Olympic and Paralympic Games have showcased all that is great about our country and generated an increased sense of pride across the nation.
“We felt this in Thanet in July when the Olympic Torch passed through the area and thousands lined the streets to see it pass by and cheer the torch bearers on. I felt it too in August when I helped host a group of international journalists who were staying in London for the Games on a day visit to Margate – our industry partners worked really hard and went that extra mile to ensure their visit was a success.”
She added: “I congratulate Dave Melmoth on his award success, which had been earned through the continued delivery of outstanding customer service. I also congratulate all the other award winners who have worked so hard.”
Amanda Cottrell said: “In such a momentous year for celebrations, it was lovely to be personally involved in the Pride in Thanet Awards and celebrate the recognition of the award winners and runners-up. Their enthusiasm, passion and commitment to outstanding customer service are a credit to them and the businesses they represent.”
The winners in the other categories of the awards were:
- Transport Employee of the Year - Mark Pearson, Carol Peters Travel
- Leisure Employee of the Year - Dave Melmoth, Joss Bay Surf School
- Accommodation Employee of the Year for Serviced Accommodation - Sylvie Brown from The Devonhurst
- Accommodation Employee of the Year for Non-Serviced Accommodation - Emma Barrowcliffe and Mark Salter from Nethercourt Touring Park
- Hospitality Employee of the Year - Nick MacAskill, Eddie Gilbert Sea Food
- Café Employee of the Year - Carol-Ann Tiffney from BeBeached
- Attraction Employee of the Year - Lynn Wiggins, Quex Maize Maze
- Team of the Year - St. Peter's Village Tour
- Hospitality Student of the Year - Harry Clark, East Kent College
- Tourism Student of the Year – Sian Bland, East Kent College.