Entering the North East England Tourism Awards


2024 Categories

Our 2024 awards were open to all tourism businesses which met the published criteria for the category or categories they are entering. Entrants from Northumberland, Tyne & Wear, and County Durham were all eligible to apply.

  • Small Hotel of the Year
  • Large Hotel of the Year
  • Camping, Glamping and Holiday Park of the Year
  • Self-Catering Accommodation of the Year
  • Small Visitor Attraction of the Year
  • Large Visitor Attraction of the Year
  • Pub of the Year
  • Experience of the Year
  • New Tourism Business Award
  • Taste of North East England Award
  • Accessible and Inclusive Tourism Award
  • Business Events Venue of the Year
  • Ethical, Responsible and Sustainable Tourism Award
  • Unsung Hero Award

Reasons to enter

  • Celebrate quality, innovation and best practice within your business.
  • Recognise and celebrate your business and the individuals that deliver amazing experiences for visitors.
  • Share best practice and join our industry at the awards to celebrate the best of the best.
  • Champion innovation in tourism and inspire business excellence.
  • Be in with a chance to be recognised at a national level at the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence.

Eligibility Criteria and the Judging Process

The North East England Tourism Awards are open to all tourism businesses across Newcastle, Gateshead, Northumberland, Durham, Sunderland, South Tyneside and North Tyneside who meet the published criteria for the category or categories they are entering.

Destination North East England appoint a panel of experts to determine the Gold, Silver and Bronze local winners for each of our categories. Judging is carried out by professionals with extensive experience and knowledge of the tourism industry. No matter where you are based in the UK country your local application will be judged against nationally set standards set by Visit England, with the same scoring criteria and judging guidance for all core categories.

View the full category criteria hereIf you are unsure about your eligibility for any of our categories, please contact us at tourismawards@dnee.co.uk

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How do I enter?

Awards have now closed for 2024.

Our process is aligned with local and regional competitions with the VisitEngland Awards, uniting them with an agreed collaborative purpose, application system and judging process. Our application process is easier than ever before. Applicants are only required to complete one application, in one system.

For more information on the national VisitEngland Awards for Excellence, click here. Businesses can read our competition Terms and Conditions here.

If you want to be the first to know when we launch our 2025 awards, sign up for our newsletter


Frequently Asked Questions

Read our FAQs below, a comprehensive guide that answers key questions and empowers you to embark on a successful journey towards recognition and excellence in the vibrant tourism industry.

Can I enter more than one category?

Yes. We encourage businesses to enter as many categories as they wish as long as they meet the required criteria for each category. However, separate application forms must be submitted for each.

No, there is no charge to enter the awards. However, you will be expected to cover the costs of pre-planned visits, or reimburse the costs accrued during mystery shopping.

Does it cost anything to enter?

No, there is no charge to enter the awards. However, you will be expected to cover the costs of pre-planned visits, or reimburse the costs accrued during mystery shopping.

Does my application have to be completed electronically or are hard copies acceptable?

All applications must be submitted electronically via our website. These are awards for excellence and we believe all entrants should be able to submit their entries in this way. Entrants must submit their application form through the online process.

The judging will be based on this entry form, your website (viewed on desktop, mobile and tablet), and any other online presence that you might have, including social media. The judges will also look at your online customer reviews.

If you are experiencing difficulties, you can email us at tourismawards@dnee.co.uk

Am I able to send any Supplementary Evidence?

While in the past we have accepted Supplementary Evidence through a PDF attachment, the application process does not allow for it this year. Instead, applicants have the opportunity to attached up to 3 photos, along with any websites that you may wish to link in the online application form.

What happens when you receive my application?

The closing date for receipt of applications was 5pm on Monday 4th September 2023.

The Judges will assess each application and a shortlist will be identified. Applicants were advised whether or not they were shortlisted at the end of October 2023.

Is the information I send to you kept private and confidential?

Yes. Only the organisers, judges and judging panel will have access to your application form and any supporting documentation. However, you should be aware that the judges’ comments about the quality of your business may be used as part of the script at the Awards Ceremony, if you are a finalist.

How is the judging carried out?

Judging is carried out by a panel of three judges, overseen by a facilitator, however the visits will be judged differently depending on the category. The judges decide on a shortlist and these shortlisted applicants will then be visited either by the same judges and facilitator at a pre-arranged date and time or by an unannounced mystery shopper.

The pre-arranged judges visit is your time to shine and really show the judges why you should win gold in your category. Shortlisted parties will have the chance to win Gold, Silver, Bronze or Highly Commended in each award category, however, please note, just because a business is shortlisted, it doesn’t mean that it will win an award.

The categories that will be visited by a mystery shopper will be a half day, full day or overnight experience, depending on the category, with the judges’ decision based on the application form and the visit. This will allow an authentic experience of the business as a visitor, with all shortlisted applicants being judged on the same criteria.

Shortlisting will be carried out when applications close with judges’ visits taking place from 18th September 2023 and 31 January 2024 . You must be open between these dates to allow your business to be visited.

When are the winners announced?

We are planning an Awards Ceremony in spring 2024 where the winners will be announced.

Can I get some feedback from the judges about my application?

Yes. The judges consider feedback to be an essential part of the competition. All applicants who are not short-listed can request feedback however those shortlisted will not receive feedback until after the Awards Ceremony. Feedback will be provided by the facilitator for your category.

What should I do if I am having technical difficulties trying to complete my application?

We have attempted to make the application process as user friendly as possible. If for any reason you are having problems, you can email tourismawards@dnee.co.uk

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