Bristol’s top-rated visitor attraction picked up wins in two sets of tourism industry awards last night.
During the UKinbound Excellence Awards, Ryan Sanders, Visitor Experience Assistant at Brunel’s SS Great Britain, won the ‘Young Excellence Award’ in recognition of his role inspiring and engaging visitors, staff and volunteers.
Ryan’s story is one of both professional and personal success. Diagnosed with Asperger’s when he was seven, Ryan found developing certain interpersonal skills challenging, but he joined the SS Great Britain Trust as a volunteer in 2015, determined to develop his confidence and deliver excellent customer service at the museum experience. Since then he has excelled, taking up a full-time position as a Visitor Experience Assistant.
Commenting from the awards ceremony in Glasgow, Ryan said: “It has been an honour to have been nominated and to have won this award. It is a fitting tribute to my incredible journey so far working at Brunel’s SS Great Britain. The support I have had from my friends, family and colleagues has helped me overcome some of the challenges I face with Asperger’s. The SS Great Britain is my second home and I am grateful for each day I spend there.”
Liam Tolhurst, Head of Retail & Visitor Experience at the SS Great Britain Trust said: “As well as inspiring and delighting visitors, Ryan is consistently generating new ideas that create amazing visitor experiences. Being frequently mentioned by name on TripAdvisor reviews, Ryan’s positive and inspiring attitude touches everyone he greets. A group of adults with learning difficulties recently visited, with Ryan proudly telling them that he has Asperger’s. The class leader took time to let us know how valuable and inspiring that interaction with Ryan had been for his class.”
On the same night, tourism business from across South West England celebrated success at the South West Tourism Excellence Awards held in Bristol, where Brunel’s SS Great Britain won Gold in the ‘Tourism Innovation’ category. During a highly successful event for the SS Great Britain Trust 107 awards were presented following a rigorous judging process in which a record 651 entries were considered.
Commercial Director at the SS Great Britain Trust, Phil Smith, commented: “Trustees, staff and volunteers are delighted by this latest recognition for the museum. These awards come after a highly successful 12 months for the Trust, having been awarded ‘Best Tourism Project 2018’ by the British Guild of Travel Writers. Furthermore – with the addition of the Being Brunel museum in 2018 – the Trust has been shortlisted for the prestigious European Museum of the Year Award 2019 and will be sharing case studies with other leading international museums at the Award conference in Sarajevo in May.”