"And the winner is..." The 2021 Luxembourg Tourism Awards ceremony was held in the den Atelier concert hall in Luxembourg City on 14 October 2021. At this edition of the two-yearly event, stakeholders in the tourism sector were rewarded for the innovative projects they had set up between 2018 and 2020. Hospitality, diversity, innovation and quality are just some of the key words that describe the tourist offer in the Grand Duchy. And they are reflected in the award-winning services and establishments!
Celebrating hospitality, culture and innovation
The General Directorate for Tourism organises the Luxembourg Tourism Awards every two years. The awards reward the actors in the sector for their initiatives and activities highlighting the quality of the Grand Duchy as a destination and the diversity of the country's offer for tourists. In Luxembourg, a cosmopolitan country in the heart of Europe, the tourism sector is constantly improving, with a view to increasing its power of attraction.
With this in mind, and according to specific criteria, a cross-disciplinary jury decides on the winners, on the basis of the projects they present in the various categories. The Luxembourg Tourism Awards focus on the notion of excellence: offering varied high-quality services, fostering innovation, catering to a local, international and very diverse clientele, adapting to specific expectations, and enriching existing services. With these prizes for tourism, the General Directorate for Tourism hopes to encourage the sector to follow its vocation and continue diversifying what it has to offer.
Categories and winners
And the 2021 winners are:
- Hotel – the Hôtel Graace in Bonnevoie, Luxembourg City
- Camp site – Camping Park Beaufort
- Gîte, B&B, youth hostel – Escher Bamhaiser
- Facilities (museum, playground, adventure park, etc.) – recreational centre at Echternach Lake (Centre Récréatif au Lac d'Echternach)
- Tourist services (valet parking, dog walking, etc.) – Escher Déierepark
- Digital tourism offer – Sightseeing.lu
- Gastronomic hotel-restaurant offer – the Airfield hotel and restaurant
Any business, foundation, public establishment, not-for-profit association, municipal authority or natural person active in the tourist sector can enter the competition. The various categories highlight the dynamism, passion, creativity and entrepreneurial spirit that drive the various participants. Each project is unique, and the 2021 edition has placed particular emphasis on efforts undertaken in the difficult context of the COVID-19 pandemic. In each category, a prize for excellence and a 'coup de coeur' prize are awarded. This year the town of Esch-sur-Alzette won the prize for the 'deserving municipality' (all categories) for its revival after the decline of the iron and steel industry, based on innovative projects such as the Escher Bamhaiser and the new youth hostel. The Internet site at explore.lu, which offers an attractive selection of visits and excursions focusing on a historic, culinary or natural theme, won the public's 'coup de coeur' prize (all categories).
Three questions for...
Anne Meyers, manager of the Escher Bamhaiser and the Déierepark in Esch-sur-Alzette
Congratulations! You have won in two categories of the Luxembourg Tourism Awards. What motivated you to take part in the competition?
When the call for projects was announced, I decided to take part because I'm totally convinced that the Bamhaiser and the Déierepark deserve the award. These are two tourist attractions that are well known not only to anyone who lives in Esch but also to other people in the Grand Duchy and the Greater Region. What used to be a small animal park has developed into a popular leisure destination. The efforts that have been put into the changes deserve to be rewarded. The aim is to offer wonderful experiences to a large number of visitors. The Luxembourg Tourism Awards are a unique occasion to increase the visibility of the park and the treehouses.
The town of Esch-sur-Alzette received the award for the most deserving municipality (all categories). How do you think the Luxembourg Tourism Awards can have an impact on the region, and more specifically on the animal park and this accommodation?
The awards are important for the team in the field; they show appreciation for the work that has been put in. I hope the award will motivate the team members to keep on working with as much commitment as before, and that they will want to keep staying here for a long time. On the other hand, the Luxembourg Tourism Awards are a mark of quality, providing greater visibility and attracting more visitors. You also have to bear in mind that a tourist who spends the night in one of the treehouses in the park will also visit Esch-sur-Alzette and possibly other parts of the Grand Duchy. The two go together. The fact that the awards are so close to the start of the Esch2022 cultural year may also have a beneficial effect.
You have been renovating, adapting and expanding the park, its educational offer and its activities since 2011. What are your future projects for development, innovation, or increasing the diversity of animal species?
There's always something to do! Right from the start we felt it was very important to work with a certain transparency. That's why we are currently redesigning our animal feed kitchen, so that visitors can watch preparation from the outside, follow the feeding plan, and see the good quality of the products we use. This new kitchen will also enable us to further develop the offer of our educational workshops. We are also continuing our ongoing investment in raising the various animal species according to their specific needs and designing enclosures in such a way that they remain exciting for both the animals and visitors. And lastly, we hope to be able to expand the Bamhaushotel in the coming years.
Our thanks to Anne Meyers for this interview; we would like to point out to readers that parts of the interview have been summarised for the purposes of this article.
The Escher Bamhaiser, the first hotel of its kind in the Grand Duchy, comprises three treehouses in the heart of the Escher Déierepark, offering full facilities. Each treehouse has a different theme, is furnished with great attention to detail, and can accommodate four or six people. An extraordinary stay at the hotel, surrounded by the park's animals, is a childhood dream come true. Food is provided from the Bamhaus Café, which offers regional and seasonal products.
The Escher Déierepark is a public animal park that covers two hectares and is home to a hundred animals of twenty-five different species. It has been open to the public since the Fifties; since then, it has been extended with play areas, adventure circuits, and new enclosures adapted to the various species kept there. The aim is to offer close contact with the animals and educational activities with a view to training future defenders of animals and nature.