Thanet born and bred, Sam Watling, is one of ten finalists in VisitEngland’s Annual Tourism Superstar competition.
The award, now in its seventh year, celebrates the dedication and passion of those working in the tourism industry in England, with winners decided by public vote.
Having won the council’s Tourism Superstar accolade at the Pride in Thanet Tourism Awards in 2017, Sam was then nominated by Thanet District Council Tourism Team for the national award from VisitEngland and has now made the shortlist.
Sam said: “I am surprised and honoured to be shortlisted, particularly as I get to do a job I love so much. I’m also super excited for this to be announced so that I can tell people and get everything started.”
Sam started working at Revolution Skatepark and Climbing Centre, in Broadstairs, ten years ago as a school leaver. Now head instructor for all skateboard and scooter lessons, Sam sees making sure the kids have as much fun as possible as his number one priority. He said: “I love every single part of my job.”
He’s also a big fan of Thanet and frequently tells visitors how great the area is and shares top tips on how best to enjoy the isle. This passion shines through to his customers and it’s why he is one of the district’s best loved ambassadors.
Proud to announce that Sam Watling of @RevSkatepark has been shortlisted for @VisitEngland 's #TourismSuperstar award! His dedication to the local area + patience with teaching children is 2nd to none! Vote for Sam here: https://t.co/35CZd76CKT pic.twitter.com/9m7SYTQLzH
— VisitThanet (@VisitThanet) February 10, 2018
Consistently going the extra mile for visitors, Sam works hard to ensure they have an unforgettable day out. On Boxing Day, which should have been his day off, he went into work especially, because he was the person a child wanted to have a lesson with and he didn’t want to disappoint.
His customers say he “goes above and beyond to ensure everyone has a memorable and rewarding experience” and is a “wonderful ambassador for the skateboarding world.” They also praise how he helps his young students improve, saying: “His patience and kindness helps many children gain confidence and develop their skateboarding and scootering skills.”
Cllr Hunter Stummer Schmertzing, Thanet District Council Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Enterprise Services commented: “It is people like Sam that make our visitors’ experiences memorable and leave them with a positive impression of the area. I would urge anyone who has had the chance to see Sam in action or enjoyed the Skatepark to vote. It is a great way to create recognition of his outstanding work and winning awards continues to put Thanet on the map and drive visitors to the district.”
Sam’s three reasons to vote for him:
- A vote for me is a vote for all at Revolution Skatepark and Climbing Centre, both the staff and our customers.
- I’m passionate about what I do and give 100% all the time, whether that is giving someone a lesson or helping out in the shop.
- I would like to win as a ‘thank you’ to everyone and because it would be great for Thanet as an area and our youth.
The winner will be announced in Saturday’s Mirror on 24 March to coincide with English Tourism Week and they will be presented with their award at VisitEngland’s Awards for Excellence ceremony on Monday 23 April.