A LUXURY hotel and a top flight festival are among winners to scoop awards for boosting the region’s tourism industry.
Attractions, hotels, venues and exhibitions were recognised last night at the North East England Tourism Awards.
The Lindisfarne Gospels did the double as the display was hailed the gold winner of the Tourism Experience of the Year and Tourism Event of the Year.
It was followed by The Ashes, which was staged at Durham County Cricket Club, which won silver in the Event of the Year category, and Sunderland International Airshow and The Late Shows, which sees Wearside museums open into the night, which both won bronze awards in the section.
Other gold winners were Seaham Hall, which took back the Small Hotel of the Year title to the five-star retreat, and Event Durham, which runs banquets, conferences and celebrations using Durham University’s estate, and collected the Business Tourism Award.
Whitburn man Richard Ord also picked up a gold award in the Taste of England category for his Colman’s fish and chip shop in South Shields.
Silver winners featured Durham University, which won Sustainable Tourism Award and Small Visitor Attraction of the Year with its Oriental Museum, with WWT Washington Wetland Centre highly commended in its section.
Durham Pointers, a team of helpers who welcome visitors to the city, were presented with a bronze award for their work at the ceremony held at St James’s Park.
Winners will now be given the chance to compete against those from other regions at the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence in 2014.
The awards were organised by the NewcastleGateshead Initiative, which worked alongside other members of the Northern Tourism Alliance including Visit County Durham and Sunderland City Council to run the celebration.
Sarah Stewart, chief executive of the 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 visitor economy in the region is worth £3.61billion and supports more than 54,600 jobs.