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Twycross Zoo CEO is finalist in national Tourism Superstar award

Public vote will decide winner of annual VisitEngland/The Mirror competition

Dr Sharon Redrobe OBE, CEO of Twycross Zoo in Leicestershire has been selected as one of only 10 finalists in VisitEngland’s annual Tourism Superstar competition, which recognises the dedication and passion of those working in the English tourism industry.

2022 will be the tenth year for VisitEngland’s Tourism Superstar competition, run in partnership with The Mirror newspaper. The campaign recognises and celebrates those in the industry who go the extra mile to ensure that tourists in England have an amazing and unforgettable visitor experience.

The winner of Tourism Superstar 2022 will be decided by a public vote. Everyone who would like to support the tourism sector for Leicester and Leicestershire can register their vote for Dr Redrobe’s nomination at from 14 February to 22 March 2022. The winner will be announced in The Mirror newspaper on 26 March 2022.

A video to support Sharon’s nomination can also be found online on The Mirror website and further details about the award are at The competition provides the region with an outstanding opportunity to gain national recognition for the tourism sector.

Dr Sharon Redrobe OBE was appointed CEO of Twycross Zoo in 2013 and her unique combination of animal welfare sensibility, scientific rigour and business acumen has been instrumental in rejuvenating Twycross Zoo, launching a 20-year £55m masterplan which includes the opening of The Gruffalo Discovery Land later this Spring and the development of the UK’s first and only National Science and Conservation Centre in 2024.

Sharon also oversaw the development, launch and delivery of a new Tourism Growth Plan for Leicester and Leicestershire in October 2019 and helped to deliver its priorities during the pandemic. She was also successful in securing a Levelling Up Fund bid of £19m for the new Science and Conservation Centre that will support the sub-regional ambitions for growing the local visitor economy.

Leicestershire was one of the hardest hit areas during the height of the pandemic, putting additional pressure on local businesses. Sharon adapted to the changing government guidelines, re-opening the outdoor visitor destination for families across the county and was instrumental in securing £450k in public donations, which secured the future of the zoo via refinancing.

Dr Sharon Redrobe OBE, CEO of Twycross Zoo said: “I am so proud to join the finalists of the Tourism Superstar Award.

“Throughout the pandemic, leading both the zoo and Tourism Advisory Board (TAB), I witnessed the variety of challenges across a broad range of industries that our region’s leaders faced. Frankly, everyone who reacted and adapted throughout the coronavirus outbreak deserves an award!

“There has never been a more exciting or critical time for Twycross Zoo to deliver our vision of educating and inspiring people to care about and save the other species with which we share our planet. Over the last decade we have proven that our charity, based in the heart of the UK, can be a leading voice in conservation, science and education. Already recognised globally as the ‘World Primate Centre’, and as one of the only Zoos in the world to house all 4 great apes, the foundations have been laid.

“I continue to be ambitious for Twycross Zoo and our region. Together, with the support of our visitors, we can make a significant contribution to the global conservation of animals from right here in Leicestershire.”

Chris Stafford, CEO at Curve theatre in Leicester and a colleague of Sharon’s on the destination’s Tourism Advisory Board said: “In the four years under Sharon’s leadership, the Tourism Advisory Board (TAB) has achieved many notable successes; from overseeing the development, launch and delivery of a new Tourism Growth Plan for the area and setting up a new Business Tourism Service for Leicestershire, through to supporting the creation of a new destination marketing campaign for the city and county.

“The TAB has led the way for a much-needed step-change in how the tourism sector across Leicester and Leicestershire collaborates and positions itself – Sharon’s tenacity and vision has been instrumental to this. She has ensured that we remained focused on building a stronger and more ambitious sector for the future and for these reasons, we fully support Sharon’s nomination for the national Tourism Superstar.”

Mike Dalzell, Director for Tourism, Culture and Investment at Leicester City Council, said: “I am delighted to support Sharon Redrobe as a finalist for the national Tourism Superstar award. Her commitment to supporting the whole tourism sector across Leicester and Leicestershire has brought much needed funding and support for businesses during Covid.

“Sharon strives to put a spotlight on not only Twycross Zoo, but also on the multiple superb visitor attractions across the city and county. I wish Sharon every success and urge everyone to spare a moment and vote for Sharon to help get Leicester and Leicestershire on the map as an outstanding tourism destination, that will help to drive our economic recovery and growth for the future.”

The Tourism Superstar nomination is part of Leicester and Leicestershire’s major ‘Uncover the Story’ tourism campaign that is promoting the city and county as a fascinating UK destination for national and international visitors. Uncover the Story uses a range of intriguing stories to promote the city and county as a compelling and distinctive destination to visitors. For more details on the campaign and the unique stories from the Leicester and Leicestershire tourism industry, visit