The Taunton Visitor Centre has been named as Tourist Information Service of the Year in the Bristol, Bath and Somerset Tourism Awards.
It was presented with the Gold award at a glittering ceremony held to recognise the best of the regions tourism industry.
The Taunton Visitor Centre will now go on to represent Bristol, Bath and Somerset in the South West Tourism Excellence Awards in February 2017 with eligible finalists also considered for the national Visit England Awards later in 2017.
Cllr Mark Edwards Executive Councillor for Business Development, Asset Management and Communications, said: “This is a tremendous result for the Taunton Visitor Centre and thoroughly deserved. They are a terrific team who enjoy their work in a wonderful environment, and are a real credit to the Council.”
Entrants in the competition went through a rigorous judging process taking into account websites, reviews and social media, as well as mystery visits by industry experts.
The Taunton Visitor Centre has gone from strength to strength since relocating to the Market House in the town centre last year where the premises are accessible to even more people.
It has increased the range of services available to visitors and local residents including travel and tickets sales, and advice on where to go, where to stay and what to see in the area.
The Visitor Centre team maintains the Visit Taunton website – www.visitsomerset.co.uk/taunton and Facebook, twitter and Instagram accounts which have all enjoyed a steady growth in numbers. It has also increased income from advertising in the town centre rotundas, the banner site at Castle Bow, and the new TV ‘promo’ screen in the Taunton Visitor Centre.
A new Town Centre Marketing Assistant with expertise in social media and communications is liaising with town centre businesses and event organisers, to raise awareness of promotions and festivals throughout the year. The team is also working with traders outside the new centre to create a new ‘soft square’ which will encourage people to enjoy the iconic building and its surroundings in the heart of town.
Andrew Hopkins, Marketing and Visitor Centre Manager, said: “This Gold Award is the icing on the cake in what has been a very busy year for the Visitor Centre team.
We have enjoyed a very successful relocation, made new appointments and embraced new ways of working but it has all been worthwhile and this fabulous recognition proves it. I can’t thank the team enough for their dedication and professionalism.”