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News Article Search

City backs North East England Tourism Awards

21st August 2014

Categories: Latest News

The University of Sunderland has joined Sunderland Football Club in supporting the North East England Tourism Awards – a celebration of the tourism industry across the region – by sponsoring the event which will take place at the Stadium of Light on 11 November 2014. 

Joanne Hannah, Head of Commercial Services at University of Sunderland, said: “Sponsoring the North East England Tourism Awards is a fantastic opportunity to show our support for an industry that provides many of our graduates with exciting career opportunities.”

Offering a range of undergraduate and post-graduate courses in tourism and event management, students from the University of Sunderland will be involved in the delivery of the event gaining valuable hands-on experience working with a range of event management and delivery companies including Hi-Lights audio-visual and 1879, the Stadium of Light’s in-house catering providers.

Joanne added; “I’m delighted that many of our students will have the chance to get involved with the awards too. It will give them the opportunity to put into practice many of the skills they learn whilst studying with us, and likewise gives them direct access to some wonderful case studies of tourism best practice in the region.”

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.

“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.”

The Awards are organised and delivered by destination management and marketing organisation NewcastleGateshead Initiative on behalf of 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.  They are also sponsored by Northumbrian Water and presented by BBC Look North’s Carol Malia.

Sunderland City Council’s Portfolio Holder for Public Health, Wellness and Culture, Councillor John Kelly, said: “Sunderland continues to thrive as a vibrant and exciting destination for visitors. With its fantastic newly refurbished coastline, The Sunderland International Airshow attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors every year and concerts at the Stadium of Light continuing to make the city a top class venue for world class music events, there is a real buzz around the place. It’s fantastic that the North East England Tourism Awards will take place in Sunderland this year and that the University of Sunderland has recognised the importance of the industry locally to back the awards with sponsorship.” 

Sarah Stewart, chief executive at destination management and marketing organisation, NewcastleGateshead Initiative, said: “We’re delighted to be holding the North East England Tourism Awards in Sunderland this year working with a range of our partners across the city. The Awards are a fantastic way to not only celebrate success, but provide an opportunity to showcase the best of what’s on offer in the region, with winners having the chance to compete nationally at VisitEngland’s Excellence Awards.

“I’d urge visitor-facing businesses across the North East to join us in this celebration of tourism and enter the awards!”

Businesses across Wearside have done well at the awards in recent years with awards going to Washington Wetland Centre, Sunderland International Airshow, Sunderland AFC and Monkwearmouth Station Museum.

The tourism industry is an important part of the economy of North East England supporting 54,000 jobs. Entries to the North East England Tourism Awards close on Friday 05 September, more information can be found at, where applications can be downloaded, alternatively the awards team can be contacted via

Members of the Northern Tourism Alliance include NewcastleGateshead Initiative, Northumberland Tourism (representing Northumberland County Council), Visit County Durham, The North East Hotels Association and local authorities South Tyneside Council, North Tyneside Council and Sunderland City Council.

North East England Tourism Awards 2014 – Categories

o Access for All - (sponsored by University of Sunderland as joint Event Sponsor)
o Bed & Breakfast / Guest Accommodation of the Year
o Business Tourism Award - (sponsored by NECC)
o Caravan Holiday Park / Holiday Village of the Year - (sponsored by Northumbrian Water as joint Event Sponsor)
o Large Hotel of the Year - (sponsored by Hi-Lights)
o Large Visitor Attraction of the Year - (sponsored by North East Hotels Association)
o Self Catering Holiday Provider of the Year - (sponsored by Northumberland Tourism)
o Small Hotel of the Year - (sponsored by Crowne Plaza)
o Small Visitor Attraction of the Year
o Sustainable Tourism Award - (sponsored by Banks Group)
o Taste of England Award - (sponsored by Visit County Durham)
o Tourism Experience of the Year - (sponsored by South Tyneside Council) 
o Tourism Pub of the Year
o Visitor Information provider of the Year - (presented by Lady Penelope Cobham, Chair of VisitEngland)
o Tourism Event of the Year - (sponsored by Sunderland City Council) 


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

Notes to editors:

• Northern Tourism Alliance: Working in collaboration NewcastleGateshead Initiative, Northumberland Tourism (representing Northumberland County Council), Visit County Durham, North East Hoteliers Association and local authorities including South Tyneside Council, North Tyneside Council and Sunderland Council forged a new tourism alliance in 2011.

The Northern Tourism Alliance seeks to develop new ways of working with local and national partners to continue the successful growth of the regional visitor economy in North East England. The Alliance is an ongoing partnership between several tourism organisations in the region which have indentified the mutual benefits of collaboration and co-ordination.

• 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

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