Saffron Walden receives two awards at tourism bash

From left, the Saffron Walden Tourist Information Centre team members Judith Thompson, Rachel Thomas

From left, the Saffron Walden Tourist Information Centre team members Judith Thompson, Rachel Thomas and Mark Starte, along with award sponsor Stuart Graham from Chelmsford City Council. - Credit: Archant

Champagne was popped last week when Saffron Walden Tourist Information Centre collected two coveted awards.

Staff members Mark Judith Thompson, Rachel Thomas and Mark Starte picked up the gongs at the 2013 Essex Tourism & Hospitality Awards bash in Chelmsford.

The TIC was victorious in both the categories it was shortlisted in, Best Tourist Information Centre and Best Tourism Service.

Town clerk Simon Lloyd congratulated the team. He said: “We were all thrilled with the news of the success of the TIC, it is thoroughly deserved and is a reward for their outstanding contribution throughout last year.

“It is also in no small way due to the exceptional commitment of the volunteers, who contribute enormously to the service that the TIC provides. It really is wonderful news.”

In the Best TIC category Saffron Walden was up against Colchester and Southend, while Waldegraves and Cosways Family Holiday Parks and the Waltham Abbey Marriott Hotel were shortlised in the Best Tourism Service category.

For this award, the TIC team specifically nominated their box office and marketing service, which has taken off over the last two years thanks to a partnership with Saffron Ticket Systems (STS). It gives customers the opportunity to buy tickets online via

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Mark added: “We have a popular comedy night in the Town Hall with people like Jo Caulfield and Jeremy Hardy performing. Two thirds of tickets for that are now sold online thanks to our new partnership with STS. We are very grateful to STS for their input, which, without doubt, played an integral part in us winning this award.”

The TIC also promotes events on its website, through its bi-monthly ‘What’s On’ publication, and via window and poster displays, e-mail marketing, Twitter (@swtic) and Facebook (

Next up the team are preparing to apply for the National Tourism Awards in 2014.