Well we can never say that life in the tourism industry is dull. And 2012 has posed its own unique mix of challenges and as the year has evolved we have found ourselves faced with the ongoing effects of the economic downturn and the reality of the much dreaded (but anticipated) wet summer. And adding yet more hurdles, it's all been topped off with the impact of the Olympic Games and the Queen's Diamond Jubilee!
While these conditions have set the foundations for a mixed year, the industry has met the challenges with true Cornish passion and the quality of our offering has steered the way towards more favourable fortunes that see Cornwall topping destination award charts and achieving the highest holiday satisfaction score of any English destination.
As a particular highlight, Cornwall has once again enjoyed runaway success at the British Travel Awards claiming four gold titles including Best UK Holiday County. Four winners from last year's Cornwall Tourism Awards have won national recognition in the VisitEngland for Excellence Awards with Gwel an Mor and Pentillie Castle holding gold trophies and Bodmin Visitor Centre and Roundhouse Barn Holidays securing silver.
Looking ahead, we don't expect the challenges to get any easier, if anything customers will be demanding more for their money and pushing the last minute booking trend to the nth degree. Furthermore businesses must adapt to market changes in terms of capturing and securing customer interest and embrace the opportunities of digital marketing. But it is an exciting time and I am confident that Cornwall's tourism industry has the strength to create positives from these challenges.
At VisitCornwall we will be using additional funding from VisitEngland to inspire new visitors. We are looking forward to another run of TV programmes featuring Cornwall with the second series of Cornwall with Caroline Quentin hitting our screens in January for starters.
Celebrating and rewarding success is vitally important especially in such austere times. To claim a gold, silver or bronze title in the Cornwall Tourism Awards is no easy task and shows firm commitment to quality and customer service. Congratulations to all of our deserving winners and here's to a successful 2013.