BLACK Cats and mute swans will be among Wearside’s representatives in the battle to be named among the region’s best tourist attractions.
The Stadium of Light and Washington Wildfowl and Wetlands Centre are among the Wearside attractions shortlisted for this year’s North East England Tourism Awards.
The shortlist for the region’s largest awards celebrating the achievements of the tourism industry has been decided after businesses and individuals from across the region volunteered their time and services to help judge and organise the event.
SAFC is nominated in the Tourism Experience of the Year category, while the Wildfowl Centre is up for two awards – Small Visitor Attraction of the Year and the Sustainable Tourism Award.
Leanne McCormella, marketing manager at the centre, said: “We’re thrilled to have been shortlisted for these two prestigious awards, which reflect the diverse visitor experience that we offer here at WWT Washington Wetland Centre.
“We believe we are a truly unique day out for the people of the North East – home to an abundance of wonderful wetland wildlife and habitats, where people can have fun, learn and connect with nature, while at the same time see sustainability in action.”
The centre will go up against Monkwearmouth Station Museum in the Small Visitor Attraction category and Durham University in the Sustainable Tourism section.
The university’s Event Durham team is nominated in the Business Tourism Award and Chester-le-Street’s Low Urpeth Farm also has two nominations, in the Taste of England Award and Bed and Breakfast Guest Accommodation of the Year categories.
NewcastleGateshead Initiative (NGI) and its partners took on the North East England Tourism Awards in October, following the closure of regional development agency One North East.
NGI chief executive Sarah Stewart said: “We now have a very strong shortlist. Businesses from across the region have really pulled out the stops with their submissions and some categories have seen a record number of applicants.
“Taking on the awards has been an incredibly rewarding project.
“They are an important platform and give our tourism businesses the opportunity to celebrate their achievements.
“The region has a lot to offer visitors, and we feel very strongly that this should be recognised with businesses congratulated on the fantastic services and experiences they deliver.”
The North East England Tourism Awards will take place on Thursday, January 31, at The Sage Gateshead and will be hosted by BBC Look North Presenter Carol Malia.
She said: “The North East England Tourism Awards are a brilliant opportunity for the many wonderful visitor attractions, hotels and experiences on offer in the region to shout about all they have seen and achieved in the last year, and really shine.
“I am delighted to have been invited by NewcastleGateshead Initiative to host this year’s event and look forward to hearing the inspiring stories our local tourism businesses have to tell.”