SEAFIELD Caravan Park in Seahouses has scooped gold at the annual North East England Tourism Awards and will now go forward to represent the region at the national finals.
It is the fifth successive time Seafield has won the caravan park of the year category - and it might have been more had it not been prevented from entering in 2007.
“We’re delighted with the win,” said park director Carolyn Britton. “It must be the seventh or eighth time we’ve won it now.
“In fact the only time we haven’t was after we won the finals in 2006 and weren’t allowed to enter the following year.”
There was also gold success for Kielder Water and Forest Park which won the tourism experience of the year award, while St Cuthbert’s House in North Sunderland won a silver in the B&B category and Ord Country Park won a silver in the caravan park section.
Other winners included Tyneside Cinema and BALTIC, who took joint gold in the large visitor attraction category, Rockliffe Hall who won the business tourism award, and Black Smith’s Cottage in Alnwick who went home with the self catering provider award.
The event, held at The Sage Gateshead on Thursday night, was organised by NewcastleGateshead Initiative and delivered in partnership with Northumberland County Council. It saw awards saw almost 400 members of the local business community come together to celebrate the tourism successes of the past year.
Sarah Stewart, chief executive at destination management and marketing organisation, NewcastleGateshead Initiative said: “The enthusiasm we’ve seen from businesses for this year’s North East England Tourism Awards has been fantastic.
“The results demonstrate the quality and innovation within the visitor economy from across the whole region and I’d like to congratulate all of the winners on their success. The judges were highly impressed with the quality of entrants and all of the shortlisted businesses should be proud of their achievements.
“The awards have presented an opportunity for the industry to come together and demonstrate the importance and scale of tourism in the north east. I’d like to extend my thanks to everyone who volunteered to judge and deliver what has been a truly spectacular event.”
Also supporting the awards was the Northern Tourism Alliance, a collaboration of the region’s tourism bodies who work together on projects that will benefit the tourism industry across the north east. The Alliance is made up of NewcastleGateshead Initiative, Northumberland Tourism, Visit County Durham, The North East Hotels Association and Hadrian’s Wall Trust.
Stacey Burlet, head of customer and cultural services at Northumberland County Council said: “The North East Tourism Awards showcase and celebrate the very best businesses in the local tourism industry and the talented individuals behind them.
“Their hard work and dedication contribute to a multi million pound tourism economy that is so vital for Northumberland. It is essential that the importance of the tourism industry is recognised and we are delighted to be a partner in the awards.”
Winners at the North East England Tourism Awards will have the chance to compete on a national stage against those winners from England’s other regions at the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence in 2013. Regional businesses who were successful last year were Beamish Museum (large visitor attraction), Rockliffe Hall (large hotel) and Great North Museum (Access for All).
The visitor economy supports more than 65,000 jobs across the north east. It is the fourth largest economy in the region and contributes an estimated £4.2bn annually.
Other winners: Access for all Tourism Award - The Sage Gateshead; Large Hotel of the Year - Sandman Signature Hotel, Newcastle; Small Visitor Attraction of the Year - Washington Wetlands Centre; Visitor Information Provider of the Year - National Park Centre Once Brewed; Taste of England Award - Blackfriars Restaurant, Newcastle; B&B of the Year - Low Urpeth Farm, Chester-le-Street; Small Hotel of the Year - Jesmond Dene House; Tourism Pub of the Year - The Feathers Inn, Stocksfield; Sustainable Tourism Award - Woodhorn Museum and Archives.