The Racecourse Association (RCA), in partnership with VisitEngland and VisitScotland, has today announced the top racecourses in England, Wales and Scotland for 2016 through the Quality Assured Racecourse Scheme.
For the eighth year running all 60 racecourses in Great Britain have been rated as ‘good’ or higher. The scheme allows VisitEngland and VisitScotland to benchmark racecourses against other attractions, ensuring that standards of customer experience remain high in the face of competition from other sporting and leisure venues.
The national tourism boards provide a rating on the racecourse as a quality day out, taking into account efficiency and friendliness of customer service, cleanliness of facilities as well as speed, quality and efficiency of the racecourse operation.
The top eleven in England and Wales for 2016 (listed alphabetically) were: Aintree, Ascot, Cheltenham, Chester, Doncaster, Haydock Park, Newbury, Ripon, Sedgefield, Wetherby and York.
In Scotland, Ayr and Musselburgh retained their five star ratings, the highest grading awarded by VisitScotland. Musselburgh continued to excel by also being ranked within the top 10% of all attractions in Scotland.
The RCA Excellence Accolades reward specific areas of the assessment for achieving exceptionally high marks. Of the six Accolades available, Musselburgh collected three with Fast Food Outlet (Pinkies Bar), Bar Area (Rockavon) and Lovely Loos, while Bangor-on-Dee, Chelmsford City, Newbury and York were awarded two Accolades apiece.
RCA Chief Executive Stephen Atkin said: “British Racecourses have demonstrated that they offer a fun, exciting and value for money day out when compared to other attractions. We are very proud of the service that all of our racecourses offer and this is backed up by the results from VisitEngland and VisitScotland.
“Our partnership with both tourism boards gives added assurance to customers whenever they visit a racecourse. The results show that racecourses large and small can all compete on the same level when it comes to quality and that is one of the unique attractions of British racing.
“I am particularly pleased for the winners of the RCA Excellence Accolades having been independently awarded a marque for excellence in offering a first-class customer experience.”
Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland said:
“We are delighted to see a range of racecourses winning RCA Excellence Accolades throughout the 2016 assessments. The awards are a true testament to the brilliant work being done by teams at racecourses to create a wonderfully unique and enjoyable experience for all.”
Chester Racecourse Chief Executive Richard Thomas commented:
“It’s fantastic to be recognised in this year’s awards. Customer experience is paramount for us and outlasts all other factors when interacting with Chester. A positive experience is key to ensuring we grow our audiences and encourage repeat attendance at Chester.
“Every aspect of raceday is thought about and we have worked hard to ensure we provide racegoers with all the need to know information in advance of racing and whilst they’re on-course. We enter the 2017 season with new initiatives and technologies designed to improve that experience further and look forward to positive feedback as a result of our investment in these areas.”
The 2016 Accolade winners were:
Fast Food Outlet
Musselburgh (Pinkies Bar), Newbury (Noodle Bar), York (Knavesmire Court).
Visitor Information & Signage
Aintree, Bangor-on-Dee, Cheltenham, Chester, Chelmsford City, Doncaster, Huntingdon, Uttoxeter, Wetherby.
Ripon (Club Dining Room)
Staff Customer Service
Bangor-on-Dee, Chelmsford City, Newbury, Sedgefield, York.