The North East counties are both nominated - along with Lancashire and Devon - in the British Travel Awards as thee contenders for the Best UK Holiday County/Destination 2014.
Tourism group Visit Northumberland is now calling on people to vote for it at www.vote4northumberland.com . The winner will be the area with the most votes.
Among those who have backed the county is crime author Ann Cleeves, whose novels inspired the TV series Vera.
She said: “The Vera of my books captures the spirit of Northumberland. She’s rugged, individual, but worth getting to know. However, the county is much more beautiful.”
Jude Leitch, general manager at Northumberland Tourism said: “Northumberland is an independent spirit, so many people love the county for very different and unique reasons. We deserve to be named UK’s best holiday destination and want people to share their spirit for the county and urge as many people as possible vote for us in these awards.
“By sharing the link to the voting site and displaying the Share the Northumberland Spirit campaign badge on everything they can, we hope to both walk away with the UK’s best destination award in the autumn and share the spirit of Northumberland’s heritage, space, people and culture in the process.”
Meanwhile Melanie Sensicle, chief executive of Visit County Durham, said: “We are thrilled that Durham has been recognised in the British Travel Awards 2014. There are many reasons why the county is a strong contender from the heritage of Durham Cathedral, one of the UK’s favourite landmarks, and Beamish – The Living Museum of the North, to the beauty of the Durham Dales and the Durham Coast.
“There is no denying the competition is tough but success in a public vote like this inspires confidence in a destination which will in turn encourage visitors to try something new.”
People can vote for County Durham at www.britishtravelawards.com/
Also nominated in the awards is Newcastle-based holiday firm Parkdean, which is in the running in the best family holiday company, best camping and mobile holiday company and best UK holiday parks operator awards. DFDS Seaways, which operates out of North Shields, is nominated in the best ferry operator category.