Tourism gongs handed out to top businesses

FROM a dog friendly country hotel to a sprawling five-star spa and golf resort, top tourism businesses from across the region have been rewarded for their excellence.

The winners of the annual North East England Tourism Awards were announced at a glittering ceremony held in Newcastle Civic Centre’s Banqueting Hall last night (Tues, Nov 22).

Rockliffe Hall in Darlington, the Beamish museum and the Bowlees Visitor Centre in Teesdale were among the region’s best-known tourist attractions to scoop Gold awards.

Mill Granary Cottages in Ingleton near Darlington and the South Causey Inn in Beamish were also among the Gold Award winners in County Durham.

The awards were co-organised by the NewcastleGateshead Initiative and its chief executive Sarah Stewart praised the high calibre of entrants.

She said: “Many congratulations to all of this year’s winners.

“It is always a delight to see so many businesses awarded for their commitment to the North-East’s tourism sector.

“The North-East of England has a fantastic tourism offer, from the buzz and culture of our cities to the beautiful heritage of our coast and countryside.

“This is demonstrated by the variety of businesses who have entered and won the awards.”

Of the 143 entries, more than 60 – 42 per cent – were entering the awards for the first time.

This year also saw the addition of three new categories; ‘Guided Tour of the Year’, ‘Self-Catering Property of the Year’ and ‘Dog Friendly Business of the Year’.

Winners at the regional awards now have the chance to showcase their business and the North-East region on a national stage at the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence 2017.

Andrew Stokes, VisitEngland director, said: “These awards are a fantastic showcase of the quality and sheer diversity of tourism products on offer across the North-East of England.

“They are testament to the passion and commitment of businesses who are working so hard to develop the region’s visitor economy, driving growth from tourism across the country.”

The full list of Gold winners:

• Boutique Accommodation/Small Hotel of the Year – Carraw Bed and Breakfast, Hexam

• Bed and Breakfast of the Year – St Cuthbert’s House, Seahouses

• Business Tourism Provider of the Year – Rockliffe Hall Hotel, Golf & Spa, Hurworth, Darlington

• Dog Friendly Business of the Year – South Causey Inn, Beamish

• Guided Tour of the Year – Cullercoats Bike & Kayak

• Holiday Park of the Year – Northumbrian Water – Kielder Waterside

• Hotel of the Year – Rockliffe Hall Hotel, Golf & Spa

• Inclusive Tourism Award – Go North East

• Large Visitor Attraction of the Year – Beamish, The Living Museum of the North

• Self-Catering Provider of the Year – Mill Granary Cottages, Ingleton near Darlington

• Self-Catering Property of the Year – Woodside Lodge, Hexham

• Small Visitor Attraction of the Year – Bowlees Visitor Centre, Teesdale

• Sustainable Tourism Award, Taste Award and Tourism Pub of the Year – Battlesteads Hotel & Restaurant, Hexham

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