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Tourism businesses urged to aim for the stars at 2014 Awards

13th June 2014

Categories: Convention Bureau News

With the Queen’s Baton making its way around the region today, tourism once again came under starter’s orders as the region’s businesses were urged to celebrate their success and apply to the North East England Tourism Awards 2014.

Speaking at a NewcastleGateshead Initiative partner meeting at Gateshead International Stadium today, Louise Stewart, Director of Strategy and Development at VisitEngland said: “The North East England Tourism Awards provide a great opportunity for businesses to celebrate their success and to have their achievements acknowledged. The sector is an important part of the economy of North East England supporting 54,000 jobs. The awards provide a platform to remind everyone that the tourism industry is a key part of the continued success of the region.

“Furthermore, they give winners the chance to promote the many outstanding experiences they offer, and for those who go on to compete nationally at VisitEngland’s Excellence Awards, the opportunity to elevate this on the national stage.”

This year’s awards, which are organised and delivered by NewcastleGateshead Initiative in partnership with the Northern Tourism Alliance and local authorities across the region, will take place on 11 November 2014 at Sunderland’s Stadium of Light.

Sarah Stewart, Chief Executive at NewcastleGateshead Initiative, said: “I’m really proud of what we’ve achieved as a region in working together to deliver the North East England Tourism Awards. It’s testament to our commitment as an industry that we’re able to once again showcase and celebrate tourism by working with our colleagues in Durham, Northumberland and wider Tyne & Wear to judge and promote the Awards. 

“With Rugby World Cup 2015 matches taking place at St James’ Park next year, now is the time for us to really celebrate what we have to offer in the North East and ensure the thousands of international rugby fans destined for England have a compelling reason to spend time here before and after matches.

“I am delighted too, that this year the awards will take place at Sunderland’s Stadium of Light, which itself is a visitor hotspot, not just in attracting football fans but also music fans with their successful programme of concerts.”

Gary Hutchinson, Commercial Director at Sunderland AFC and 1879 Events Management, said: “Sunderland AFC and 1879 Events Management is honoured to host the North East England Tourism Awards 2014 at the Stadium of Light. As a venue we welcome thousands of outside visitors every year and understand the importance of tourism to our regional economy.

“Through 1879 we work on a wide range of events which boost tourism across the North East including our operations at the National Glass Centre, various business dinners, Sound Waves music festival and leading LGBT festival Newcastle Pride to mention just a few.

“Hosting the awards is an absolute privilege but also a perfect match. As one of the North East’s most iconic venues, the Stadium of Light has had a huge impact on tourism in the region in recent years and we look forward to welcoming the region’s most innovative businesses to our venue in November.”

Seven North East businesses went on to see success nationally following the 2013 Awards, including St Cuthbert’s House (Bed & Breakfast of the Year) and Seafield Caravan Park (Caravan Holiday Park of the Year), both in Seahouses who both won Gold at the VisitEngland Excellence Awards 2014.

More information on the North East England Tourism Awards can be found at, where application forms will be available from Monday 30 June.  Businesses wishing to register their interest or to learn more about the awards in advance should email

The Northern Tourism Alliance is 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

Carolyn Britton from Seafield Caravan Park said: “We were absolutely delighted to win Gold in the category of Holiday Park of the Year at both the North East England Tourism Awards 2013 and the national VisitEngland Excellence Awards 2014. It is testament to the continued investment in the park and most importantly to the dedicated and motivated team here at Seafield, who continually strive to not only maintain but to improve the customer experience.

“The most pleasing aspect of winning these prestigious awards is that Seahouses achieved success from two businesses in two different categories; I would like to congratulate St. Cuthbert’s House on their success in the B&B of the Year category after also winning gold both regionally and nationally.  Tourism is now the main industry supporting the village and this success can only bode well for the future as Seahouses is certainly a centre of tourism excellence.”

The Lindisfarne Gospels won Gold in two categories (Tourism Event and Tourism Experience of the Year) in 2013, They also subsequently won Silver at the national VisitEngland Excellence Awards 2014 in the Tourism Experience category.

Melanie Sensicle, chief executive of Visit County Durham, said: “We were obviously delighted for Lindisfarne Gospels Durham to win both Tourism Experience of the Year and Tourism Event of the Year at the North East England Tourism Awards and then follow that up with silver in the VisitEngland Excellence Awards.
“To be rewarded at both a regional and national level was a tangible acknowledgement of the hard work and effort put in by so many people – staff and volunteers – in both the planning and running of the exhibition.
“Not only did the awards provide a welcome pat on the back for all those involved but they also proved several highly beneficial publicity opportunities connected to the awards.”

North East England Tourism Awards 2014 – 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  

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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