CHESTER Zoo has been shortlisted for a prestigious national award honouring the very best of English tourism.
It is one of five nominees in the category of Large Visitor Attraction of The Year at the VisitEngland Awards 2016, dubbed the 'Tourism Oscars'.
Sumatran tigers in Chester Zoo's new Islands zone
The winners will be announced at an award ceremony on Tuesday, March 8 at the Winter Gardens, Blackpool, during English Tourism Week.
Jamie Christon, managing director, said: "We're extremely proud to be a finalist of what represents the pinnacle of achievement in the tourism industry in this country.
"As a conservation and education charity it’s very, very pleasing for us to be recognised for the work we do here at the zoo, as the more successful we are, the more great work we can do to protect highly threatened species all around the world.
"It's fantastic for the whole of the region that the zoo is such a popular place to visit – there are benefits to Cheshire more widely from the tourists that we help to encourage to the area."
Inside Monsoon Forest, part of Chester Zoo's new Islands zone
Chester Zoo, which last year unveiled Islands – the biggest zoo development of all time in the UK - is pitted against Salisbury Cathedral in Wiltshire, Brunel’s ss Great Britain in Bristol, Beamish, The Whitworth in Manchester and The Living Museum of the North in County Durham.
A Sumatran orangutan gets to grips with its new home in Chester Zoo's new Islands zone
The VisitEngland Awards for Excellence stretch back more than 25 years and celebrate the very best in quality and innovation in the tourism industry, recognising businesses that incorporate best practice and demonstrate excellence in customer service.