Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton has been selected as one of the winners in the ‘Tourism Event of the Year’ category by the South West Tourism Alliance. The annual Air Day which took place in July this year attracted nearly 30,000 visitors who experienced one of the best Air Days in recent years.
The South West Tourism Excellence Awards are the official tourism awards for the region with winners going on to represent the south west at the national VisitEngland awards. This year’s judging was the tightest ever requiring lengthy debates amongst the Judging Panel, whose Chairman, Alistair Handyside, commented: “These finalists represent the best of the best tourism businesses in the South West. The visitor economy is crucial to our region and these businesses are an example to all of us, to show what can be achieved in these challenging times”.
Air Day 2011 celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Lynx helicopter which has developed an enviable reputation over decades of service as the best small ship’s helicopter in the world and is used by the Royal Navy and many foreign navies. The show attracted exceptionally rare displays to the UK by the Polish Air Force MiG-29, French Navy Rafale and Super Etendard, and Royal Netherlands Air Force Apache. It also featured a unique flypast by the world’s only airworthy Sea Vixen and Vulcan Bomber – a formation of British built classic jets that will probably never be seen again.
Although the show put on an exceptional display in the air the whole visitor experience was scrutinised for the awards. Commodore Paul Chivers OBE, Commanding Officer of RNAS Yeovilton said: “This is an outstanding achievement for the Air Station community and our commercial partners, AHA Events Ltd. Despite being extremely busy delivering the high demands of our operational commitments worldwide I am very proud of my team in putting on a top class event on the ground and in the air. I look forward to welcoming everyone to Air Day 2012 on Saturday 23 June.”
Robin Barker, Director of Services for Tourism Ltd, who coordinate the Awards on behalf of the South West Tourism Alliance, added: “Five years ago the Awards judges were often comparing good with bad, but that time is well passed. Now it’s simply about who is the more excellent! I offer my congratulations to everyone involved.”
RNAS Yeovilton will have to wait until 6th February to learn whether they have won Gold, Silver or Bronze at the prestigious Awards Ceremony, hosted by the Independent and BBC Travel Writer Simon Calder at Torquay’s Riviera Centre.