THE Outstanding Contribution to the City award celebrates those who have improved the visitor experience to Hereford.

This category is open to those who through their projects or events have increased the footfall into the city and added value to the community.

The finalists are: Hereford Cathedral, Hereford River Carnival and Rural Concierge.

Hereford Cathedral has been a beacon for the city since its original founding around 676 AD.

Throughout this time, the cathedral has drawn visitors from far and wide and this has benefited the city as a whole.

Cathedral cities are known to have a higher cultural significance as a result and as Hereford is one of the three venues for the Three Choirs Festival, the world’s oldest music festival, this helps attract people to Hereford throughout the year.

This past year has been particularly busy in raising Hereford’s profile with, among other things, the unveiling of the new SAS Memorial, the BBC’s live broadcast of the Easter Day Eucharist (one of the most watched BBC religious broadcast programmes) and the current exhibition featuring Grayson Perry’s Map of Nowhere, which has attracted significant press coverage.

The building and exhibition are iconic images for the city and wider region, with the cathedral choir being regarded as one of the finest in the world.

Hereford River Carnival is an annual event that takes place on the Friday evening and Saturday (all day) of the first bank holiday weekend in May.

All eyes are on the River Wye in Hereford, as the city and the UK’s favourite river, come alive with music, dance, performance, a carnival of sport, the best of Hereford's indie food scene and a boat-load of watery festivities.

The River Carnival has been a huge success since its return in 2014, after a 40-year absence: with the community individuals, groups and businesses taking it to their hearts.

12,000 people attended in 2016 with more than 130 local groups, schools and clubs involved. This year 15,000 people joined the fun with 160 organisations, groups, clubs and charities involved.

Rural Concierge was launched by Liz Hill in October 2013. She has helped tourists become aware of all of the great things there are to see, do and where to eat in the city.

Therefore they have stayed for longer and spent more money in the local shops, restaurants, and accommodation.

With funding being cut within local government, Rural Concierge is providing a necessary service to tourists as a sustainable and successful business.

Although there are many websites available to advise visitors on things to see and do, many people still wish to speak to a knowledgeable local to get the best from their visit.