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The annual VisitEngland tourism awards are to be held in Blackpool next month.

The event is to be staged at the Blackpool Winter Gardens on March 8. Hundreds of nominees are set to visit the resort, vying to take home prizes in 16 categories.

The VisitEngland Awards for Excellence winners will be announced at the ceremony, which is being held during English Tourism Week for the first time.

The awards range from Access for All to Visitor Information Provider of the Year to the first Dog Friendly Business of the Year award.

Applications were received from businesses including hotels, B&Bs, glamping operators, restaurants, food and drink producers, pubs, museums, festivals, conference centres and motorway service areas.

Judged by industry leaders, all finalists will receive either a gold, silver, bronze or highly commended award.

The awards also include the presentation of the VisitEngland and Daily Mirror Tourism Superstar 2016 Award for the nation’s publically voted unsung tourism hero.

VisitBritain and VisitEngland chief executive, Sally Balcombe, said: “The awards finalists exemplify outstanding tourism talent and distinguished businesses throughout England.

“The awards highlight exceptional commitment to quality care, service and English tourism as a whole. The awards not only honour the great and the good in tourism and hospitality, but raise the profile of England and celebrate the importance of the industry’s contribution to local and national economies.”

Blackpool Council deputy leader, Gillian Campbell, said: “We’re absolutely delighted to be hosting this year’s VisitEngland awards. Not only does it bring more business tourists in to the resort, who will spend money in our local hotels and restaurants, but it also gives us a great platform to showcase the many things that Blackpool has to offer.

“For the last few years we’ve been banging the drum to tell people that Blackpool is back, and this is a great chance to show the huge amount of regeneration that’s taken place to some of the country’s top tourism leaders.”