Your votes now needed for Thanet Tourism Superstar finalists

Who is your Thanet Tourism Superstar?

Nominations for the Thanet’s Tourism Superstar have been made and a judging panel has carried out the difficult task of whittling the list down to a shortlist of three.

The Isle of Thanet News has teamed up with Thanet council’s tourism team to find that special person who consistently goes the extra mile to deliver excellent customer service and to make a holiday experience to remember for visitors.

The Thanet Tourism Superstar is a person who works within the tourism and hospitality industry in Thanet, including employees and volunteers within  tourist attractions, hotels, guest houses, bars and cafes, train stations and restaurants.

They are passionate about where they work, knowledgeable about the isle and happy to talk about this outside of their work remit.

Nominations opened on August 9 and the panel met on October 1 to select the shortlist.

It is now up to the public vote to decide who will become the Thanet Tourism Superstar and be nominated in VisitEngland’s 2019 Tourism Superstar Awards.

The vote is open now and runs until midnight on Monday, October 29 with the winning announcement being made in that week.

To vote go to

Fantastic ambassadors for the isle made the nomination list and each of those should be proud of the contribution they make to Thanet’s tourism industry.

But our three shortlisted contenders waiting for your vote are:

Dr Emma Barrowcliffe of Nethercourt Touring Park

One of her nominations noted “never misses an opportunity to talk about current and future events in the Isle of Thanet.”

Tell us about yourself, your family, and where you live

We live in Ramsgate and our son who is eight and attends a Ramsgate school. My partner (Mark) and I relocated here from Yorkshire, although I miss the folks up north, after enjoying endless sunshine here in Ramsgate we haven’t looked back. Whilst working at the campsite I also completed a PhD in Forensic Psychology at the University of Kent.

What’s your business/where do you work?

Nethercourt Touring Park is a small family run campsite only a mile from Ramsgate town centre, beach and the only royal harbour in the country. Originally our grounds formed part of the gardens for the grand Nethercourt House. Nethercourt House was utilised as a hospital during WWI and it is believed that the campsite is situated above tunnels used in the war.

How did you get started?

The campsite has been in my family for approximately 20 years and Mark and I took over around 14 years ago. I have had a variety of jobs predominantly centred around the wellbeing of others such as working in mental health and working with young people with additional needs. Running a campsite was a huge change for both of us but is very rewarding.

What do you love about your job?

I’m not sure there is enough space to tell you about all the great aspects of working at Nethercourt Touring Park. Running a campsite is such a varied job. I love the fact that each day is different and there is no such thing as a typical day in the ‘office’. We predominantly work outdoors amongst the wildlife such as the Green Indian Parakeets, squirrels, birds, butterflies and the naughty fox who steals shoes, I am in the fresh air every day and the Ramsgate sunshine is amazing! We are so lucky that Thanet has its own micro climate. I get to meet people from all over the UK and the world which is fantastic. We have made some great friends both locally and we have regular campers/friends who visit us from all over the world such as Australia, France, Germany, The Netherlands, and campers who regularly drive down from Carlisle, it is like having a huge extended family.

What is the most important thing you do?

It has been said that I am a chatterbox and I love to talk so I really enjoy meeting people, making them feel welcome and showcasing the local area. Many of our guests are first time visitors to Thanet and are not aware of what the area has to offer and its hidden secret gems. Therefore a lot of my time is spent welcoming people, ensuring I am up to date with local events and that we have plenty of tourist information on display.

How do you feel about being shortlisted for Thanet Tourism Superstar?

WOW!!! I was really surprised and very proud to find out that I had been shortlisted. I am very grateful to everyone who took the time to vote for me and hopefully by promoting the local area we can continue to put Thanet on the map as a superb visitor destination.

What makes you proud of Thanet?

I could go on all day about all of the different attractions in the area and visitors are sure to find something which takes their fancy. Being a parent what I think is great about Thanet is the variety of free events. It can get particularly expensive entertaining children during the school holidays but both locals and visitors can enjoy many events for free. For example, there are plenty of Summer fetes and parades, Ramsgate has Lark in the Park, various events in Ellington Park, and Broadstairs has some great food festivals, and free firework events during the Summer months.

Our visitors are certainly impressed by Thanet’s 15 sandy beaches and bays (with 7 of them having blue flag status) and many have learnt to surf at one of the surf schools in the area. The Viking Cycle Trail is a great way to explore Thanet on foot or by bicycle and the walk from Ramsgate to Margate was recently voted as one of the top 100 walks in the UK.

For music lovers Thanet has plenty of music festivals from the Folk Festival in Broadstairs to the Contra Pop Festival held on Ramsgate beach. In terms of history we have some really great museums such as the Spitfire and Hurricane Museum, the RAF museum, Dickens House, Pugin’s House, Shell Grotto and St. Augustine’s Church. For art lovers Margate has the Turner Contemporary art gallery, and both Ramsgate and Margate have lots of smaller independent galleries with some great pieces.

Ramsgate War Tunnels are definitely worth a visit and Ramsgate Costumed Walks are brilliant and help to bring Thanet’s history to life by ‘meeting’ some of the famous people who have lived here or visited Thanet (e.g., King George IV, Princess Victoria, Elizabeth Fry, and Vincent Van Gogh).

I love the fact that Thanet has something for everyone both for the young and young at heart to enjoy such as the Micro Museum in Ramsgate, Dreamland and adventure golf. When visitors have finished their lazy day on the beach or visiting the attractions who can resist sitting outside one of the great brassieres alongside Ramsgate harbour and watching the boats bobbing about on the water, or watching the twinkling Christmas lights in December.

Give an example of how you have made a real difference to a customer’s experience promoting Thanet as a destination to come back to.

I love to make a difference to people’s lives and as always this year has been an eventful year. I can’t specifically comment as to how I may have made a specific difference to a camper’s experience, but I know that many of our campers have had an impact on me. The majority of our campers come back year after year and sometimes multiple times in a year so I guess we must be doing something right. We also try to make a difference to the lives of others, we offer a book exchange to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support and Water Aid and this year we also wanted to make a difference to local people and so we collected shower products and food for the local homeless shelters. Many people who arrive in Thanet do so thinking it will just be a one night stop off but actually when they delve into the tourist information they find that Thanet has so much to offer and there is something for everyone.

Your business address, telephone number, website.

Nethercourt Touring Park

Nethercourt Hill



CT11 0RX

07981 029 517

David Dray of the Royal Harbour Hotel

One f his nominations said: “He met us with a huge smile and was very knowledgeable of the local buses and gave us a map of Thanet.”

Tell us about yourself, your family, and where you live. I am married have two children called Oliver, age 6 and Amelia age 2. We like to spend family time together on day trips to beach and parks. Imet my wife Suzanne 16 years ago, she supports me in all I do. My hobbies are playing croquet and I represented England in the 2008 world championships.

What’s your business/where do you work? I work in the Royal Harbour Hotel Ramsgate. I currently manage day to day running of the hotel.

How did you get started? I was a roof glazier. But fancied a change of career, so started working as a receptionist in 2005 at the Kent International Hotel in Ramsgate, until Travelodge took over in 2010. I then met James Thomas, the owner of Royal Harbour Hotel, in 2010. I was operations manager then worked my way up the ladder over the last 8 years.

What do you love about your job? I love meeting new people as well as repeat guests. The guests come from all over England. I just love to help them and offer my knowledge of attractions that Thanet has to offer.

What is the most important thing you do? The most important thing I do is make sure the guests keep coming back and offer the highest level of customer service.

How do you feel about being shortlisted for Thanet Tourism Superstar? This is a shock, it just means that past guests have taken the time to nominate me and it makes me feel that i have meant something to someone in the work I do…

What makes you proud of Thanet? Thanet is a great seaside resort it has a lot to offer for all ages. It has a wide variety of restaurants and bars as well as hotels. The area is full of character and is also great for children with the beach and climate.

Give an example of how you have made a real difference to a customer’s experience promoting Thanet as a destination to come back to.

I feel that I have a good general knowledge of what’s on offer for our guests. I make sure I offer the guests to come back at another time of year, for example if they visited in the Summer then I say to come back at Christmas time to see the harbour lit up with lights on all boats and carol songs in the street. And if they come in Winter then I state Ramsgate, Broadstairs and Margate has the loop bus to hop on and off to see the attractions. I offer a street map and recommend great food outlets to visit.

 Your business address, telephone number, website.

Royal Harbour Hotel

10 -11 Nelson Crescent, Ramsgate, CT11 9JF

Stephen Darrer of Cliftonville Townhouse

One nomination said: “Stephen provides maps of the local area and personally recommends local restaurants, cafes, shops and tourist attractions.”

Tell us about yourself, your family, and where you live

Hi, I’m Stephen, originally from Ireland and a recent convert to sunny Margate life after spending many years in Hertfordshire. With a successful background in learning development and learning design, I have worked on large scale hospitality projects, most notably I consulted at the London 2012 Olympics and at British Airways. Outside of the B&B I’m the Secretary of GRASS, our local community street scheme, and I play an active role in running community events, our most recent being the Cliftonville Games and Cliftonville in Bloom

Your business/where do you work?

I am the owner of the Cliftonville Townhouse, which is contemporary boutique bed & breakfast establishment. Cliftonville Townhouse is a must for anyone wanting a modern and stylish seaside break. Our rooms are light, airy and inspiring – all boasting original features, ever-changing local art, and stunning unique mid-century-modern furniture. You can even opt for a room with a must-lie-in four-poster bed and cast-iron roll-top bath, or our converted loft room with exposed brickwork and its own sun terrace. We’re situated in the up-and-coming Cliftonville, with eclectic coffee shops, bars and record shops popping up all the time.  We ‘re also minutes away from the mysterious Shell Grotto, the Walpole Bay tidal pool, and some stunning Kent coastal walks.

How did you get started?

I have always worked in hospitality and customer service roles, when I was five years old I would help my father in his shop and by eight years of age I was serving customers from behind the counter whilst standing on a chair. All my siblings worked in the family business from an early age. My parent’s passion for putting customer first embedded strong service values in us all, hence why so many of my siblings still work in the hospitality industry.

What do you love about your job?

Creating memories for every guest – from the first interaction, whether it is online or by phone, I want them to feel they have made the right choice in visiting Thanet. I love sharing my inside knowledge on the area and telling them where to visit, where’s good to eat and what food is in season. Creating memories for our guests is paramount, I totally understand the constraints and time limits that people have in their day-to-day lives and when they come to stay with us I want them to have the best experience possible.

What is the most important thing you do?

When I open the door to welcome my guests on arrival.

Creating that positive first impression and ensuring that it continues during their stay! I know everyone says it, but making each guest feel extra special with a warm welcome, is absolutely key to the experience and helps build that initial rapport.

How do you feel about being shortlisted for Thanet Tourism Superstar?

Honestly? I’m completely overwhelmed. I am so thankful to all our guests for even nominating me in the first place, I was completely taken aback when I was contacted. And I know a lot of people will say this. The thing is, I NEVER imagined this in a million years. To get recognised for something you love doing is really the icing on the cake!

What makes you proud of Thanet?

Without a doubt the people. Having come to the area as a tourist five years ago prior to relocating, it is the friendly and engaging folk of Thanet that make the difference. I still love to visit the towns and villages around Thanet and always feel that each one has unique characteristics that help to create a welcoming vibe, and this always comes across in the people with their sense of pride in where they live.

Give an example of how you have made a real difference to a customer’s experience promoting Thanet as a destination to come back to.

Guests love to live like a local!  Last year I had guests that were on a cycling holiday around the Kent coast, with Margate being the last destination of their trip. I spoke with them on the telephone prior to arrival and they explained to me that they were real foodies. I decided to make a hand drawn map of the local area where they could go out and taste the best that Thanet has to offer, from the local produce at Quex Barn, to the wonderful local seafood at Hantverk and Found, and afternoon tea on the fabulous Walpole Bay terrace. They were so thrilled by the effort that they have been coming back each month to try all the culinary delights of Thanet.

 Your business address, telephone number, website.

Cliftonville Townhouse

40 Gordon rd.




Telephone: 01843- 228164