Lindisfarne Gospels visit leads the way at tourism awards

The Lindisfarne Gospels visit to the region led the way at the North East tourism awards last night

Seafield Caravan Park, near Bamburgh, Northumberland
Seafield Caravan Park, near Bamburgh, Northumberland

Durham’s staging of the world famous book picked up two honours at the North East England Tourism Awards 2013, held at St James’ Park - golds in the tourism event and tourism experience categories.

Among the other winners were National Trust property Gibside at Gateshead, in the large visitor attraction section, and Seafield Caravan Park at Seahouses and Leaplish Waterside Park at Kielder, which shared top prize in the caravan holiday park category.

The accolade for Leaplish follows Kielder Water and Forest Park being named England’s Best Tourism Experience last year.

The awards seek to recognise the contribution of tourism businesses to the region’s visitor economy.

That is said to be worth £3.61bn and to support more than 54,600 jobs across Northumberland, Tyne and Wear and County Durham, representing employment growth of 5% in the decade since 2003.

Sarah Stewart, chief executive at destination management and marketing organisation, NewcastleGateshead Initiative, said: “Once again, the North East England Tourism Awards has demonstrated the vibrancy and breadth of what the industry has to offer visitors across the region.

“The judges had a really tough time this year, with an extremely high quality standard of applications.

“It was difficult in many cases to select one overall winner.

“I’d like to congratulate all of the winners, who have again proven that the tourism industry is one of the region’s most innovative economies, and thank everyone who was involved in making the awards such a great success.”

NewcastleGateshead Initiative worked alongside other members of the Northern Tourism Alliance members and wider partners to organise the 2013 awards - including Visit County Durham, Northumberland Tourism, Hadrian’s Wall Trust, Northumberland County Council, Sunderland City Council, North Tyneside Council and South Tyneside Council.

The awards ceremony was attended by 430 members of the business community and hosted by BBC Look North presenter Carol Malia.

Winners will have the chance to follow in Kielder’s footsteps and compete on a national stage against those from England’s other regions at the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence in 2014.

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