One of the region’s largest venues and one of its smallest tourism treasures were among the big winners at an awards event celebrating the best in English tourism.
The Sage Gateshead music centre, Laverock Law Cottages in Northumberland and County Durham-based tour company Beiwei 55 were the three organisations which took gold awards at the prestigious Visit England Awards for Excellence.
The awards, now in their 29th year, celebrate Businesses and individuals that continuously raise the bar of England’s tourism offer.
A total of 54 awards were up for grabs in 18 categories, ranging from boutique guest accommodation of the year to large visitor attraction of the year.
Now winners of the gold, silver and bronze awards in each category have been announced at an awards ceremony held at the Bath Assembly Rooms.
The region’s premier music venue The Sage Gateshead – which has become one of the country’s top conference venues – took the gold award for Business tourism. In 2016/17 conferences and events at the Sage generated £6.7m of economic impact to the region from conference delegates.
Awards judges said: “The famous Geordie welcome is apparent from all staff and the Sage really is a place that they and the country should be proud of. It is a cultural destination that puts Gateshead , the North East and England firmly on the Business tourism map.”
Abigail Pogson, managing director at Sage Gateshead said: “We are so proud to be recognised at the highest, national level for our commitment to Business tourism through our conference and events programme.
“It is testament to the hard work of the whole team here and our relationship with partners including NewcastleGateshead Initiative.”
Sarah Stewart, chief executive at NewcastleGateshead Initiative, whose Convention Bureau works closely with the team at the Sage, said: “The Business events sector in the North East continues to thrive and it’s brilliant News that Sage Gateshead has been recognised at the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence – congratulations to all the team.”
Beiwei 55º, which is based in Barnard Castle, won the gold award for inbound tourism.
The company offers private and public tours of Britain in Chinese, with native British Mandarin-speaking guides carrying out tours of London, Scotland, the Lake District, Yorkshire, the North East, Stratford-upon-Avon, Windsor, Cambridge, Oxford, Bath and around other parts of Britain.
Eve Barker, CEO of Beiwei 55 said: “We were pleasantly surprised by the win. We’ve only been going for three years so something like this means a great deal.
“We are a very small but dedicated team but we are growing – the market is evolving all the time – and this is acknowledgement that are doing well.
“We get feedback from customers and know we are doing it, but it’s good to get that approval from the higher powers.”
Laverock Law Cottages, which offers ‘green holidays’ at its four cottages in Lowick, Northumberland , won the gold award for sustainable tourism. The firm tweeted a picture of its award and said it was “on our way home, full of ideas and inspiration.”
Other winners from the North East included Seafield Caravan Park in Seahouses, which won a silver award in the holiday park of the year category, Seaham Hall Hotel which won bronze in the hotel of the year category, Go North East taking a silver award for innovation in tourism and Hall Hill Farm which won a silver award in the small visitor attraction of the year category.
Sally Balcombe, CEO of VisitBritain and VisitEngland said: “The standard of the hundreds of applications we received this year was extremely high and that’s why Sage Gateshead’s accolade is a testament to their excellent work.
“These awards shine a spotlight on our fantastic tourism industry, with the winners showcasing the quality, innovation and excellence on offer throughout England and I warmly congratulate them on their impressive contribution to the tourism industry.”
Source : Chroniclelive