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Miniature Village wins top award

Peter Williamson with his awardThe boss of a miniature village tourist attraction has been named as a model businessman.

Peter Williamson, who runs Merrivale Model Village at Great Yarmouth has won the Superstar top accolade at the resort’s annual awards celebrating the best of the area’s tourism and business sector. Mr Williamson, who has run the popular family attraction for 13 years, was praised by awards judges for his passion in delivering an excellent visitor experience and keenness to introduce fresh ideas each season.

His was among 11 awards revealed at the Town Hall in front of a 200-strong gathering of guests from the tourism and business community.
They were organised by the Greater Yarmouth Tourism and Business Improvement Area, which aims to boost the economy through a range of events and marketing using funds generated from 1200 local levy payers.
Its chairman Gareth Brown said increased visitor numbers and their spending benefited the wider economy and that “tourism is everyone’s business”.
Guests at the awards ceremony heard that last year’s marketing included radio and TV campaigns focussed on the east Midlands with adverts seen by 4.6 million people and promotional films watched 750,000 times via social media promotion. Essex, Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, and Hertfordshire will be targeted this year.

Eighty out of 100 project ideas – including events and marketing campaigns – proposed by the local levy payers had been successfully delivered.
GYTABIA company secretary David Marsh said BID funding, which supplemented the council’s business support spending, had already provided an additional £1.3m towards the Business Improvement District’s (BID) initiatives.
He stressed that the BID board remained committed to holding a Great Yarmouth Air Show. It was a tough decision to postpone the planned debut event this summer, but a further announcement would be made in June.
Mr Marsh also welcomed the raft of investment plans by tourism and related businesses including hotels, pubs, holiday parks, attractions and infrastructure improvements.

The 21st annual awards were presented by Borough Mayor Councillor Malcolm Bird, and sponsored by Norse company GYB Services. As well as the main categories, there were grading achievement awards.
Category winners:
• Investment; Large Scale Winner – Camplings’ new £5m laundry (Other finalists: Sentinel at the Phoenix Pool; The New Beach Hotel). Small business: Merivon Guest House (Jack’s Jetty Snacks; Maluth Lodge)
• Business Website – Joyland (Merivon; Martham Boats)
• New Business – The Olive Garden (The Coffee House; Wayside Pottery)
• Customer Service – Aman Khanna, Waverley Hotel (Gemma at Allens Butchery, Hemsby; New Beach Hotel)
• Marketing Campaign – Castle Carvery Caister ( Sara’s Tearooms; Retroskate)
• Community Contribution – Martham Scarecrow Festival (Filby in Bloom; Hemsby and Newport Traders)
• Family-Owned Business – Hirsty’s Farm (Allens Butchers, Hemsby; Pub on the Pier and Pub on the Prom)
• Rising Star – Tom Haddon, Kensington Hotel manager (Adrian Barbutoiu, Waverley Hotel: Jack Button, Jack’s Beach Café)
• Working Team – Hippodrome (Fusion Hair Consultants; Sea Life Centre)
• Business Superstar – Peter Williamson, Merrivale Model Village

Grading achievement star ratings presented were:
Guest accommodation B&Bs, guest houses:
3-star: The Haydee; The Maryland;
4-star: Barnard House; Barons Court; Chateau; Fjaerland; Hamilton; Kensington (breakfast); Kilbrannan (silver and breakfast); Maluth (silver); Merivon (silver and breakfast); Trotwood (breakfast); Winchester (dinner).
3 star: Knights Court; Pier; Prom
4 star: Imperial (AA rosette)
Cottages, apartments, self-catering, holiday parks:
3 star: Cavalier Holiday Chalets; Seadell Chalets
4 star: Hadleigh Holiday Suites; Peers Premier Apartments (gold award)
Holiday and touring parks:
3 star: Grasmere Caravan Park
4 star: Cherry Tree Holiday Park (gold); Haven Caister Holiday and Touring Park; Haven Seashore Holiday Park; Haven Wild Duck Holiday and Touring Park
5-star: Haven Hopton Holiday Village; Clippesby Hall (5 AA pennants)
Holiday Village
5-star: Potters Resort