Tourism businesses across the region are being urged to enter the North East England Tourism Awards to showcase their talents and ensure that the strength of the region’s tourism industry is recognised.
The visitor economy supports more than 65,000 jobs across the North East and contributes an estimated £4.2billion to the local economy annually.
The awards have taken place since 2003 to recognize the hard work and dedication of the industry across the region and were previously delivered by One North East.
With the Regional Development Agency no longer in operation and in light of current economic challenges, there were some doubts as to whether the Awards would in fact go ahead in 2012.
Sarah Stewart, chief executive at NewcastleGateshead Initiative, said: “After speaking with local businesses, it quickly became apparent to us that the enthusiasm from the tourism industry locally for the North East England Tourism Awards meant that they simply must go ahead.
“They are a valuable way of recognising the achievements and quality of the tourism offer in the North East and we have worked with colleagues across the region to ensure that the North East wouldn’t miss out on the awards that feed into the national VisitEngland awards annually.”
NewcastleGateshead Initiative is now planning and delivering the awards in partnership with Northumberland County Council (NCC), which has taken on responsibility for administering the judging of six categories, and event management company Evention.
Jeff Reid, leader of NCC, said: “The North East England Tourism Awards aim to promote and reward excellence in all areas of the industry. Tourism is a major contributor to the Northumberland economy and I am delighted that NCC is able to support the 2012 awards.”
Also supporting the awards is the Northern Tourism Alliance, a collaboration of the region’s tourism bodies who work together on projects that will benefit the tourism industry across the North East. The Alliance is made up of NewcastleGateshead Initiative, Northumberland Tourism, Visit County Durham, Tees Valley Unlimited, The North East Hotels Association and Hadrian’s Wall Heritage Trust.
Winners at the Awards will have the chance to compete against winners from other regions across the country at the Visit England Awards for Excellence. In the past, regional winners have extended their success, helping the North East compete on a national stage.
Previous winners have included Great North Museum: Hancock in Newcastle, Sunderland Football Club, Beamish Museum, Hartlepool Maritime Experience and St Cuthbert’s House in Seahouses, who in 2010 won gold in the Guest Accommodation of the Year category, taking silver nationally.
Jeff Sutheran, owner of St Cuthbert’s House, said: “The North East Tourism Awards are a fantastic opportunity for businesses to showcase their quality offerings, and to celebrate the great results of the hard work they put into giving visitors a very special experience.
“Winning in 2010 was a fantastic achievement for us, and meant we could go on to the Enjoy England National Awards, where we won Silver in the same category. It was a great opportunity to showcase our business - and Northumberland - to a national audience, and it was certainly good for our business.”
There are 14 categories for businesses to compete in; businesses interested in applying should visit www.NorthEastTourismAwards.com
North East England Tourism Award 2012 – categories
· Access for All Tourism Award
· Business Tourism Award
· Caravan Holiday Park / Holiday Village of the Year
· Tourism Experience of the Year – Incorporating ‘Best Event’
· Bed & Breakfast / Guest Accommodation of the Year
· Large Visitor Attraction of the Year
· Large Hotel of the Year
· Tourism Pub of the Year
· Self Catering Holiday Provider of the Year
· Small Visitor Attraction of the Year
· Small Hotel of the Year
· Sustainable Tourism Award
· Taste of England award
· Visitor Information Provider of the Year