Tourism award hopes for firms

BUSINESSES in the borough are among those on the shortlist for the region’s largest awards celebrating the achievements of the tourism industry.

Businesses and individuals from across the region volunteered their time and services to help judge and organise the North East England Tourism Awards.

Organisations from the coutny have been nominated for nine out of 14 categories and will find out their fate at the Sage Gateshead on January 31.

The award winners will have the chance to compete against those winners from across the country at the Visit England Awards for Excellence in 2013.

The awards have been planned and delivered by NewcastleGateshead Initiative in partnership with Northumberland County Council and freelance event manager, Michelle Beveridge.

In the running for the awards is Tynemouth based Martineau Guest House, pictured above, which has been shortlisted in the Bed and Breakfast/Guest Accomodation of the Year category, and North Shields Tourist Information centre, which is hoping to scoop the Visitor Information Provider of the Year title.

Neil Bradbury, Northumberland County Council’s executive member for customer relations and culture, said: “The Tourism Awards provide the opportunity to reward excellence and good practice in the Tourism Industry.

“In the north east, we have many accommodation providers and attractions whose dedication to quality should be recognised.

“I am delighted that Northumberland County Council was able to assist in organising these awards.

“I’m also delighted that there are so many Northumberland businesses represented among the finalists.”

The visitor economy supports more than 65,000 jobs across the region and contributes an estimated £4.2bn to the local economy annually.

Shortlisted in the tourism experience category, Elisabeth Rowark, Kielder Water and Forest park development trust director, said: “We are delighted to have been shortlisted; especially as this is the first time we have entered the awards.

“Over the last year the Park has enjoyed a growth in visitor numbers from 306,000 to 345,000 and also Kielder Observatory in particular has seen significant growth.”