Nominations are being sought for the North East England Tourism Awards 2013.
Bosses are being urged to consider what outstanding experiences they offer visitors as they bid to be honoured in 15 categories.
This is one more than last year, as previously ‘best event’ was judged within the Tourism Experience category and this year Tourism Event of the Year is also open for entries.
Organisers said it was the ideal time to celebrate the region’s events, especially as the Lindisfarne Gospels returned to their spiritual home at Durham Cathedral this week.
NewcastleGateshead Initiative chief executive Sarah Stewart said: “The North East England Tourism Awards recognise the achievements and quality of the tourism offer from Northumberland to the Tees Valley, across Newcastle Gateshead, 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.”
Kielder Water and Forest Park won Tourism Experience of the Year at the North East England Tourism Awards in 2012, and also went on to take gold in the same category at the Visit England Excellence Awards 2013.
Kielder director Elisabeth Rowark 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 a North East England Tourism Award.
Rockliffe Hall in Hurworth, near Darlington, 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.
Tourism supports more than 65,000 jobs across the North East and contributes an estimated £4.2bn to the local economy annually. The deadline for entries for the awards is September 6 with the winners revealed at a ceremony at Newcastle United’s St James’ Park on November 21.
For details go to www.NorthEastTourismAwards.com