Matlock Farm Park’s George Finlay wins National Tourism Superstar Award – Destination Chesterfield

By Josh Marais

Matlock Farm Park’s George Finlay celebrates after being announced as VisitEngland’s 2022 Tourism Superstar.

Farm supervisor George, 22, faced stiff competition from nine other finalists across England to be crowned the winner, receiving 29% of the public vote and becoming the competition’s youngest winner to date.

The Tourism Superstar award was launched by national tourism agency VisitEngland and The Mirror 10 years ago to recognize the dedication and passion of those working in the tourism industry.

George was nominated for his enthusiasm, passion, knowledge and dedication – qualities that earn him regular praise in visitor feedback. Her responsibilities include looking after the health and welfare of the animals, interacting with visitors, and organizing informative animal-focused activities, such as encounters with wallabies and talks with meerkats.

George is particularly passionate about the mental health benefits of animals and when Matlock Farm Park was closed during Covid restrictions he was the driving force behind the creation of weekly shows on Facebook Live to entertain visitors with uplifting content .

In addition, George actively seeks to encourage young visitors to love animals and with his beaming smile and friendly approach he goes out of his way to ensure that people of all ages and abilities have a memorable day.

The announcement comes after George won silver in the Tourism Young Achiever category at the Peak District & Derbyshire Tourism Awards earlier this month.

Reacting to the news of his win, George said: “I am delighted to have won the VisitEngland Tourism Superstar award. I feel so lucky to work in a job where I can share my passion for animals with visitors of all ages and winning this national award, which is voted on by members of the public, is a huge honour.

“The Peak District and Derbyshire are an incredible destination, with so much to offer visitors, and I am delighted to be able to play a small part in helping people have memorable experiences. Thank you to everyone who voted!”

Jo Dilley, Managing Director of Marketing Peak District & Derbyshire, said: “At just 22 years old, George is a fantastic ambassador for our vibrant tourism sector and we are delighted to see him win this prestigious national award.

“George embodies all that is great about working in the Peak District and Derbyshire tourism industry – he is friendly, helpful and engages with people of all ages with the aim of making their trip special. A huge congratulations to George and thank you to everyone who voted.

Andrew Stokes, Director of VisitEngland, said: “Tourism Superstar recognizes people who go the extra mile to create exceptional visitor experiences, and each finalist has gone above and beyond what tourists expect. George clinched the title thanks to his tireless work to ensure visitors to Matlock Farm Park have the best time while ensuring the animals have everything they need.

“During Covid, he also extended the healing reach of animals into people’s homes with his live streams, from lambing to feeding, helping people feel connected. A big thank you to all of our finalists and everyone who took the time to participate in the voting.

Matlock Farm Park and Marketing Peak District and Derbyshire support the town’s marketing and economic growth through Chesterfield Champions, a network of over 200 organizations across Chesterfield and North Derbyshire.

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