UKinbound has named 22-year-old Joseph Unwin from Visit York the third winner of the Young Excellence Award.

The accolade was awarded at UKinbound’s annual Awards for Excellence Gala Dinner at UKinbound’s annual Awards for Excellence Gala Dinner, which took place at Aerospace Bristol on Thursday 7 February. Unwin was presented his award by Bristol stand-up comedian and actor James Redmond, and James Roscoe from Continuum Attractions (who sponsored the award) in front of an audience of over 300 delegates from the UK tourism industry

UKinbound received a significant number of high calibre nominations, demonstrating that skilled young professionals are entering and prospering in the tourism industry.

The Young Excellence Award entries were assessed by a panel of independent judges – Susan Deer, ABTA; Patrick Richards, ETOA; and Dr. Karen Thomas, Canterbury Christ Church University.

With no more than 500 words, UKinbound members were welcomed to nominate a young person (aged 25 and under) in their organisation that had demonstrated or achieved any of the following; innovative thinking and/or generation of new ideas, exceptional customer service, taking the initiative and a commitment to the tourism industry.

Joseph’s story was so captivating and stimulating, the judges declared Unwin as the final winner of the 2019 Young Excellence Award.

The Winner’s Story:

Joseph Unwin

Joseph is a young man who has overcome profound shyness to undertake a BTEC in tourism and become a vibrant permanent staff member at Visit York. He travels each day for 90 minutes and his employers say that his love for tourism and the city of York beams through as he attentively helps customers plan their trips.

Initially a timid young man with a love of maps and history books, during the last three years at York’s visitor centre, Unwin has really come out of his shell, rising to a challenge and pushing himself outside of his comfort zone to learn sign language.

His keenness to learn has led him to work on the visitor centre’s Christmas Market chalet, where he discovered a confidence for selling. Unwin also wants to learn Spanish, which is an important developmental milestone for someone that was once too apprehensive to talk to overseas visitors.

Julie Brookes, Visitor Information Centre Manager at Visit York said, “Joseph is a credit to the team and we are all so proud that he has won this incredible award. Since he joined the team in 2016 it has been so wonderful to see how his confidence has grown and how his customer service and selling skills have developed. Joseph always goes above and beyond when helping our customers, going to great lengths to ensure visitors get the highest quality service when they come through our doors. The feedback he receives is brilliant and it is so fantastic to see him recognised in this way on a national scale.”

Joseph Unwin, Visitor Information & Sales Assistant, Visit York said, “I’m delighted to win this award and to have been nominated by my colleagues. I love York and really enjoy my role in the Visitor Information Centre helping people plan their trip to York and get the best experience for their visit. I feel that I’ve really grown so much since I joined the Visit York team and I am so excited to receive this special award.”

Joss Croft, CEO at UKinbound commented, “In a nutshell, we need more people like Joseph to work in the British tourism industry. We already have substantive skills and labour shortages and the end of Free Movement is going to have a big impact on the industry’s workforce. It is clear that Visit York have done a fantastic job of developing and nurturing Joseph to help him gain valuable and transferable skills as well as building his confidence. It is also heartening to hear that he wants to learn Spanish as the industry desperately needs more foreign language speakers. His commitment and enthusiasm will be an inspiration to others and it is clear that Joseph has a promising career ahead of him.”

During the awards evening, an additional 10 accolades were handed out to businesses that had made a significant contribution to the tourism industry over the last 12 months. These were:

The Awards for Excellence were presented during the association’s Annual Convention which took place at the Mercure Bristol Grand Hotel on Wednesday 5 and Thursday 6 February.