At a difficult time for the industry, the quality and diversity of businesses from across the region was celebrated for their amazing contribution to the North East tourism offer.
Sage Gateshead and Tynedale-based Falconry Days were both double winners, with Maldron Hotel Newcastle taking home the New Tourism Business Award - one of three new categories introduced for the 2020 awards alongside Experience of the Year and the International Tourism Award.
Northumberland fared particularly well with seven gold award winners out of 15 categories.
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Coun Cath Homer, cabinet member for culture, arts, leisure and tourism at Northumberland County Council said: “We know that it is a worrying time for our tourism industry and for all those businesses that add to our county’s success.
“However it is these businesses and their continued passion and commitment who will help us to economic recovery once current restrictions are eased.
“As a council we are doing all we can to support businesses, particularly in the tourism industry through these difficult times by continuing to show why Northumberland is a destination of choice, and when the time is right, visitors will be welcomed back to our great county with open arms.”
Sarah Green, chief executive at NewcastleGateshead Initiative, which organises the awards, said: “A huge congratulations to this year’s winners and all those who continue to contribute so much to the North East tourism sector.
“Covid-19 is having a devastating impact on the sector but these awards demonstrate the quality of the North East Tourism offer and gives us confidence that once the current situation eases the region will be in a strong place to benefit from a predicted upturn in domestic and day tourism.
“Along with our colleagues in tourism organisations across the North East, we will continue to invest in marketing, with a strong digital and media presence, to ensure that tourists are aware of our fantastic region and have us front of mind when planning for future visits.”
The North East England Tourism Awards were once again sponsored by Newcastle College and Bidfood.
The format of the awards was tweaked this year so that they now align more closely with the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence and reflect innovations across the industry.
Eligible winners of the North East England Tourism Awards will be automatically put forward to the national VisitEngland Awards for Excellence 2020.
Each of the shortlisted businesses went through a thorough judging process, focused on experiencing their offer first-hand. As well as being evaluated by a judging panel made up of industry experts, planned visits by judges or 'mystery shoppers' helped to inform the final decisions.
NewcastleGateshead Initiative has worked alongside Northern Tourism Alliance members and other partners to deliver the awards in 2020.
Full list of winners:
Accessible and Inclusive Tourism Award
Gold – Sage Gateshead
Silver – Go North East
Bronze – South Tynedale Railway
B&B and Guest House of the Year
Gold – St Cuthbert’s House
Silver – Millstone House Bed and Breakfast
Bronze – Market Cross Guest House
Highly commended – Layside Bed and Breakfast
Highly commended – St Valery Boutique and Breakfast
Business Events Venue of the Year
Gold – Sage Gateshead
Silver – Newcastle City Council Civic Centre Banqueting
Bronze – Event Durham, Durham University
Highly commended – The Biscuit Factory
Highly commended – Northumbria University – Venues at Northumbria University
Camping, Glamping and Holiday Park of the Year
Gold - Seafield Caravan Park
Silver – Hesleyside Huts
Bronze – Westfield House Farm Shepherd’s Huts
Highly commended - Herding Hill Farm Touring, Camping and Glamping Site
Ethical, Responsible and Sustainable Tourism Award
Gold – South Tynedale Railway
Silver – Battlesteads
Bronze – Sage Gateshead
Highly commended – Westfield House Farm
Highly commended – St Cuthbert’s House
Experience of the Year
Gold – CBK’s Adventure Co.
Silver – Footsteps in Northumberland
Bronze – The Alnwick Garden
Highly commended – Falconry Days
Large Hotel of the Year
Gold – Matfen Hall Hotel, Gold and Spa
Silver – Ramside Hall Hotel, Golf and Spa
Bronze – The Vermont Hotel
Highly commended – Doxford Hall Hotel
Small Hotel of the Year
Gold – Seaham Hall
Silver – Walwick Hall
Bronze – Lord Crewe Arms
Highly commended – Battlesteads
Highly commended – Wynyard Hall
International Tourism Award
Gold – Falconry Days
Silver – Event Durham, Durham University
New Tourism Business Award
Gold – Maldron Hotel Newcastle
Silver – The Amble Inn
Bronze – Shepherds Retreats Ltd
Highly commended – STACK Newcastle
Highly commended – Spanish City
Pub of the Year
Gold – The Apple Inn
Silver – The Angel of Corbridge
Bronze – Twice Brewed Inn
Highly commended – The Botanist Newcastle
Self-Catering Accommodation Provider of the Year
Gold – St Oswald’s Farm
Silver – Main Cottages
Bronze – Brunton House and Cottages
Highly commended – Vindomora Country Lodges
Taste of North East England Award
Gold – Dobson and Parnell
Silver – Restaurant Hjem
Bronze – Battlesteads
Highly commended – Barrasford Arms
Large Visitor Attraction of the Year
Gold – Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens
Silver – The Alnwick Garden
Bronze – Bamburgh Castle
Highly commended – Beamish, The Living Museum of the North
Highly commended – Great North Museum: Hancock
Small Visitor Attraction of the Year
Gold – Falconry Days
Silver – Newham Grange Farm
Bronze – Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums – Arbeia South Shields’ Roman Fort