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News Article Search

Entries open for North East England Tourism Awards

5th July 2013

Categories: Convention Bureau News

As the Lindisfarne Gospels return to their spiritual home this week, and settle into a three month long exhibition in Durham University's Palace Green Library, tourism businesses are being urged to consider what outstanding experiences they offer visitors as applications for the North East England Tourism Awards 2013 open.

Sarah Stewart, chief executive of destination management and marketing organisation, NewcastleGateshead Initiative; said: “The North East England Tourism Awards recognise the achievements and quality of the tourism offer from Northumberland to the Tees Valley, across NewcastleGateshead, Tyne & Wear and Durham.

“Four of the region’s winners from 2012 went on to see success nationally at the VisitEngland Excellence Awards, and as the Lindisfarne Gospels Exhibition opens this week, there really is no better time to stand back and asses the many wonderful experiences and services on offer to visitors across the region.”

This year, a new category has been introduced taking the overall number up to 15. Previously ‘best event’ was judged within the Tourism Experience category, but this year Tourism Event of the Year is also open to entries.

North East England Tourism Awards 2013 – Categories

• Access for All
• Bed & Breakfast / Guest Accommodation of the Year
• Business Tourism Award
• Caravan Holiday Park / Holiday Village of the Year
• Large Hotel of the Year
• Large Visitor Attraction of the Year
• Self Catering Holiday Provider of the Year
• Small Hotel of the Year
• Small Visitor Attraction of the Year
• Sustainable Tourism Award
• Taste of England Award
• Tourism Experience of the Year
• Tourism Pub of the Year
• Visitor Information provider of the Year
• Tourism Event of the Year  

The deadline for entries to the North East England Tourism Awards 2013 is Friday 06 September; the awards will culminate in a glittering ceremony at St James’ Park, the home of Newcastle United Football Club, on Thursday 21 November. Further information on how to apply can be found online

Kielder Water and Forest Park won Tourism Experience of the Year at the North East England Tourism Awards in 2012; they also went on to take gold in the same category at the Visit England Excellence Awards 2013.

Elisabeth Rowark, director at Kielder Water and Forest Park Development Trust, said:
“We are brimming with pride to have won Tourism Experience gold at both the North East Tourism Awards 2012 and the national VisitEngland Awards for Excellence. It truly has been an honour and we are making the most of the opportunity to raise our profile and draw more visitors to the epic Kielder Water and Forest Park as a result of winning two such prestigious accolades. 

“I would certainly encourage any business to participate as these awards provide a focus for improvement in quality and product for visitors to the North East; the rigorous process proves the worth of any winner against their peers.”

Three other local businesses went on to see success nationally after winning at the North East England Tourism Award. Rockliffe Hall in Hurwurth took silver in the Business Tourism Category, while WWT Washington Wetland Centre were Highly Commended in the Small Visitor Attraction of the Year category and Newcastle’s Blackfriars Restaurant was shortlisted for Taste of England.    

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 to recognise the hard work and dedication of the industry across the region.

In 2012 NewcastleGateshead Initiative took over the delivery of the North East England Tourism Awards following the demise of One North East. This year, they are planning and delivering the event in partnership 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 region.

The founding members of the alliance are NewcastleGateshead Initiative, Northumberland Tourism, Visit County Durham, The North East Hotels Association and Hadrian’s Wall Trust. The Awards are also supported by Northumberland County Council, South Tyneside Council, North Tyneside Council and Sunderland City Council.


Supporting Quotes
Leanne McCormella, Managing Manager at WWT Washington Wetland Centre, said:  “Winning Small Visitor Attraction of the Year at the North East England tourism awards and going on to clinch the Visit England Highly Commended title has been beneficial to us in so many ways.

“The North East is home to a thriving and competitive tourism industry, so to be recognised as being up there with the best both regionally and nationally was in itself a real honour; but it was also a reflection of all the hard work and commitment shown by our dedicated staff and volunteers, who genuinely got a buzz from entering the awards and waiting to hear how we’d done at each crucial stage.

“The positive effect that this has had on our team cannot be underestimated. Nor can the kudos and publicity opportunities that come hand-in-hand with the awards, or indeed the chance they give you to look with fresh eyes at your visitor offering and improve it, thanks to the great feedback given by the assessors.”

Wendy Benson, Sales & Marketing Director at Rockliffe Hall, said: “The VisitEngland Awards are extremely prestigious and to be a finalist for an unprecedented third year running, after succeeding at the North East England Tourism Awards is such a coup.

“We're competing with locations in city centre areas- like London- which is really difficult but we are getting there. Businesses are starting to appreciate what the North East has to offer- exceptional transport links, superb visitor attractions, great restaurants and stunning scenery- whether it's for business or pleasure. We’re really proud to be able to represent the North East region at this level and against some massive competition."

Andy Hook, Managing Director at Blackfriars Restaurant, said: “The North East England Tourism Awards were so well organised and gave us an opportunity to focus our talented team at Blackfriars, getting them really involved and passionate about what we do best - providing beautiful food and hospitality excellence. The process motivated everyone and gave them a real boost - especially when we were awarded gold! And it's right that we should and must shout about our successes and the wonderful things our much-loved North East has to offer.”

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.

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