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Tourism superstars shortlisted for North East awards

10th October 2013

Categories: Convention Bureau News

The region’s biggest awards for the tourism industry has seen a 34% increase in applications since delivery of the event was taken over by NewcastleGateshead Initiative in 2012.

98 businesses have submitted applications for the North East England Tourism Awards 2013 compared to 73 last year, with 51 making the shortlist – announced today.

Sarah Stewart, chief executive at destination management and marketing organisation, NewcastleGateshead Initiative said: “This year’s Tourism Awards are set to be bigger and better. It’s fantastic to see that since last year’s successful awards ceremony at Sage Gateshead even more tourism business have entered in 2013.

“Taking on the project has been incredibly rewarding. The North East England Tourism Awards are an important platform. They create a spotlight for the industry to shine and give businesses the opportunity to celebrate their innovation, quality and performance. The region has a lot to offer visitors and the awards celebrate this diversity.”

The Awards ceremony is delivered in partnership with Sodexo Prestige and Hi-Lights. It will take place on 21 November at St James’ Park to celebrate the achievements of the tourism industry and will again be hosted by BBC Look North Presenter, Carol Malia. Winners at the event will also have the chance to compete on a national stage against winners from England’s other regions at the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence in 2014.

The visitor economy supports more than 65,000 jobs across the North East and contributes an estimated £4.2bn to the local economy annually. The awards have taken place since 2003 and are a great tool for inspiring businesses to improve and grow.

Sarah added: “Businesses aspire to be recognised for investment and performance achievements, the North East England Tourism Awards are a great way to deliver this recognition, they inspire future applicants, and for those who don’t win an award, the process of judging and feeding back also helps them to develop.”

NewcastleGateshead Initiative has worked alongside other Northern Tourism Alliance members and wider partners to deliver the awards in 2013, including Visit County Durham, Northumberland Tourism, Hadrian’s Wall Trust, North East Hotels Association, Northumberland County Council, Sunderland City Council, North Tyneside Council and South Tyneside Council.

Northumbrian Water and Northumberland College are event sponsors, contributing vital financial support to ensure the awards go ahead as an important celebration of the industry.

David Hall, Head of Leisure, Strategy and Transformation at Northumbrian Water, said: “Northumbrian Water is delighted to sponsor the North East England Tourism Awards 2013. As the lead partner in the Kielder Water & Forest Park Development Trust, we were proud to have won the gold award for Best Tourism Experience at both the North East England Tourism Awards 2012 and the national VisitEngland Awards for Excellence 2013; so it was only appropriate that we should sponsor this year’s awards.

“They are a fantastic opportunity for businesses to showcase their product and provide a focus for improvement in quality for visitors to the North East. We want to join with our tourism businesses in the region to celebrate their success and to recognise what makes the region such a great place to visit, live, work and play.”

Stuart Cutforth, Principal and Chief Executive of Northumberland College, said: “We have chosen to support these awards for the second time and the college is proudly sponsoring the Tourism Experience of the Year category this year.

“As a college that is based in the largest unitary area in England with a spectacular landscape and rich history, we view the tourism, leisure and hospitality sectors as key for economic prosperity and we provide quality training and facilities to meet this demand.”

Tickets to attend the awards are priced at £45 and are available now from NewcastleGateshead Initiative – please contact Joy Sanders on 0191 440 5723 or visit


Supporting quotes

Event hosts and nominated in the Business Tourism Award category, Samantha Doyle, Sales and Marketing Manager at Sodexo Prestige, said: “We are delighted, not only to be hosting this prestigious award ceremony, but to have been nominated in the Business Tourism category.”
“As one of the North East’s most recognisable and well-loved venues, St James’ Park has a vital role in attracting people to the region and we are proud to extend the North East’s famed hospitality to visitors both on and off the pitch.”

Nominated for Small Hotel of the Year, Mark Booth General Manager of Doxford Hall Hotel and Spa said: “We are delighted to be shortlisted in the category of Small Hotel of the Year, as it means that we are recognised at the highest level, within our own industry. All of the staff at Doxford Hall strive for excellence in all areas, and awards such as these acknowledges their commitment.

“The North East has some fantastic tourism organisations and I know that the North East England Tourism Awards help to promote both the region and individual businesses to national audiences, which can only be good for our economy.” 

Nominated in the Large Visitor Attraction of the Year category, Julia Hankin, Head of Marketing and Communications at the Centre for Life, said: “Life has had a great summer. We’ve had some of our best visitor numbers since opening, with our Age of the Dinosaur exhibition proving to be extremely popular. We’re delighted to have been shortlisted for Large Visitor Attraction of the Year, it’s testament to our commitment to ensuring the best possible visitor experience with a changing programme of exhibitions and events that appeal not just to children but to adults as well.”

Nominated for Large Hotel of the Year, Wendy Benson, Sales and Marketing Director at Rockliffe Hall, said: “We are delighted to be shortlisted once again for Large Hotel of the Year in the forthcoming North East England Tourism Awards. As past Gold winners for both the regional and national VisitEngland Awards of Excellence, we are immensely proud to have gained such accolades and firmly believe these have played a key part in Rockliffe Hall enjoying the success and recognition we have achieved to date.” 

The Shortlist

Access for All Tourism Award
• Discovery Museum, Newcastle (Tyne & Wear)
• Sage Gateshead (Tyne & Wear)

Bed & Breakfast / Guest Accommodation of the Year Award
• Carraw Bed & Breakfast (Northumberland)
• Martineau Guest House, Tynemouth (Tyne & Wear)
• Dowfold House Bed & Breakfast (County Durham)
• St Cuthberts House (Northumberland)  

Business Tourism Award
• Northumbria University – Inspirational Spaces (Tyne & Wear)
• Sodexo Prestige / Newcastle United Football Club (Tyne & Wear)
• Event Durham, Durham University (County Durham)  

Caravan Holiday Park / Holiday Village of the Year Award
• Seafield Caravan Park (Northumberland)
• Northumbrian Water ltd – Leaplish Waterside Park, Kielder (Northumberland)
• Bobby Shafto Caravan Park (County Durham) 

Large Hotel of the Year Award
• Jurys Inn Newcastle (Tyne & Wear)
• Rockliffe Hall Hotel, Golf & Spa (County Durham)
• Newcastle Marriott Gosforth Park Hotel (Tyne & Wear)
• Ramada Encore Newcastle-Gateshead (Tyne & Wear)
• Hotel Indigo Newcastle (Tyne & Wear)     

Large Visitor Attraction of the Year Award
• National Trust Gibside, Gateshead (Tyne & Wear) 
• International Centre for Life, Life Science Centre, Newcastle (Tyne & Wear)
• Sage Gateshead (Tyne & Wear)
• The Biscuit Factory, Newcastle (Tyne & Wear)

Self Catering Provider of the Year Award
• The Waiting Rooms (Northumberland)
• Beacon Hill Farm (Northumberland)
• Blacksmith’s Cottage (Northumberland) 

Taste of England Award
• Colman’s of South Shields (Tyne & Wear)
• Northumberland Cheese Company ltd (Northumberland)
• The Feathers Inn (Northumberland)

Tourism Event of the Year Award
• The Late Shows – Tyne & Wear Archive & Museums (Tyne & Wear)
• The Ashes – Durham County Cricket Club (County Durham)
• Sunderland International Airshow – Sunderland Live (Tyne & Wear)
• Lindisfarne Gospels Durham – lead partner Durham University (County Durham)  

Tourism Experience of the Year Award
• Lindisfarne Gospels Durham – lead partner Durham University (County Durham)  
• Hall Hill Farm (County Durham)

Tourism Pub of the Year Award
• South Causey Inn (County Durham)
• The Feathers Inn (Northumberland)

Visitor Information Provider of the Year Award
• North Shields Tourist Information Centre (Tyne & Wear)
• Northumberland National Park Centre, TIC Once Brewed (Northumberland)
• NewcastleGateshead Visitor Information Centre (Tyne & Wear)
• Durham Pointers (County Durham)   

Small Hotel of the Year Award
• Wynyard Hall (Tees Valley)
• Doxford Hall Hotel & Spa (Northumberland)
• Seaham Hall (County Durham)   

Sustainable Tourism Award
• Killhope Museum (County Durham)
• North Music Trust, Sage Gateshead (Tyne & Wear)
• Durham University (County Durham)    

Small Visitor Attraction of the Year Award
• WWT Washington Wetland Centre, Sunderland (Tyne & Wear)
• Oriental Museum, Durham University (County Durham)
• Auckland Castle (County Durham)
• The Cycle Hub, Newcastle (Tyne & Wear)
• Ouseburn Trust – Victoria Tunnel, Newcastle (Tyne & Wear)       
• Hall Hill Farm (County Durham)

For media enquiries contact:
Shelley Armstrong
Media & PR Manager
T. +44 (0)191 440 5739
M. +44 (0)7717 631 109

Notes to editors:
• NewcastleGateshead Initiative is a destination management and marketing agency; a public-private partnership supported by Gateshead and Newcastle City Councils, working with around 170 private sector partner organisations across NewcastleGateshead and the wider region
• NewcastleGateshead Initiative is supported by a board offering expertise from a range of sectors and professions. We also work with a wide range of partners, stakeholders and businesses, who share our ambition to inspire people to visit and to live, learn, work and invest in NewcastleGateshead.
o Our marketing & communications team works to promote and position NewcastleGateshead as a vibrant tourism destination, through targeted campaigns nationally and internationally. Our visitor information team helps ensure visitors have the best possible experience when they’re here, providing information and support.
o Our cultural programming team work with partners across the destination to bring together NewcastleGateshead’s cultural offer and deliver some of our most popular festival & events, including EAT! NewcastleGateshead, Juice Festival and the NewcastleGateshead Winter Festival.
o Our Convention Bureau uses local knowledge and expertise to help organise conferences, meetings or events in NewcastleGateshead and the surrounding area. It provides a free service including, venue sourcing and accommodation booking, to arranging transport and entertainment for delegates
o Our inward investment team helps businesses locate, expand and flourish in NewcastleGateshead, providing a range of services to make it easy to realise their ambitions for growth
• United by seven bridges across a spectacular riverscape, Newcastle (a city on the north bank of the River Tyne) and Gateshead (a town on the south bank) form a single, diverse and extremely vibrant visitor destination. World-class culture, vibrant nightlife, award-winning dining, inspiring heritage, fantastic shopping and acclaimed architecture are combined here like nowhere else, by the famous Geordie spirit which is symbolised by Antony Gormley’s iconic Angel of the North as it welcomes travellers to the area.

Imagery / Photography opportunities:
• - NewcastleGateshead’s Initiative’s extensive royalty free image library

Useful links:
• - NewcastleGateshead Initiative’s media website
• - destination website for NewcastleGateshead

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