TV Series Vera and author behind the books among winners at the 2024 North East England Tourism Awards

The popular TV drama Vera and author Ann Cleeves, who wrote the book series, were awarded the Outstanding Contribution to Tourism award at Thursday's ceremony.

The popular TV drama Vera and author Ann Cleeves, who wrote the book series, were awarded the Outstanding Contribution to Tourism award at Thursday's ceremony. They were among 14 other award winners who were named some of the best in the region at the prestigious annual awards.

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Exec producer of Vera Will Nicholson was at Newcastle’s Civic Centre to pick up the award. The hit crime drama, now in its 13th series, was awarded the title for the positive impact it has had on the region, with many of the programme filmed in locations across the North East. Fans now flock to the region to discover the places where DCI Vera Stanhope solves her investigations, including Newcastle; Hexham and Lindisfarne.

Other winners on the night included Blackfriars Restaurant for the Taste of North East England Award; Seaham Hall won Small Hotel of the Year for the third year in a row and new attraction The Spanish Gallery in Bishop Auckland, part of The Auckland Project picked up the Gold award for Small Visitor Attraction of the Year.

Duncan Wise, of Northumberland National Park Authority was named Unsung Hero of the year for his knowledge and commitment to the organisation and his passion for the region.

Following the sad news of the passing of Dave Myers, one half of TV Cookery duo The Hairy Bikers, earlier in the day, the 400 guests at the ceremony raised a glass in his honour.

The full list of Gold winners is:

Accessible and Inclusive Tourism Award – The Alnwick Garden

Business Events Venue of the Year – Crowne Plaza Newcastle Stephenson Quarter

Camping, Glamping and Holiday Park of the Year – Hadrian’s Wall Campsite

Ethical, Responsible and Sustainable Tourism – Northumberland Zoo

Experience of the Year – Serenity Farne Island Boat Tours

Large Hotel of the Year – Rockliffe Hall Hotel, Golf & Spa Resort

Large Visitor Attraction of the Year – Whitehouse Farm Centre

New Tourism Business Award – The Hiddle Hut

Pub of the Year – The Beresford Arms

Self-Catering Provider of the Year – Kidlandlee Holiday Cottages

Small Hotel of the Year – Seaham Hall

Small Visitor Attraction of the Year – The Spanish Gallery

Taste of North East England – Blackfriars Restaurant

Unsung Hero Award – Duncan Wise, of Northumberland National Park Authority

Now in its 21st year of celebrating the region’s innovative and distinctive tourism and hospitality offer, the North East England Tourism Awards, were supported this year by headline sponsor, Bidfood, one of the UK’s leading foodservice providers, and Newcastle College, as event sponsor, and were hosted by regional ambassador and broadcaster, Charlie Charlton.

Delivered by Destination North East England and run in partnership with VisitEngland, the awards celebrate quality, innovation, and best practice, showcasing the fantastic range of high-quality experiences on offer for visitors in our region.

Category sponsors included open-access rail operator Lumo, the region’s dedicated screen agency North East Screen and specialist recruitment agency Adkins & Cheurfi. They are joined by North of Tyne Combined Authority, Sunderland City Council, South Tyneside Council, Visit County Durham, Visit Northumberland, drinks reception sponsor Christie & Co, Everything Managed Group, North East Hotels Association, TXGB and Foodbuy.

A new addition to the event was an army of innovative ‘Butler Bots’ supplied by local ePOS provider Spark ePOS. These autonomous bots, hugely popular in Asia, have been brought to the UK’s shores and are already delighting guests by delivering room service at Newcastle’s Maldron Hotel. They were on hand to interact and snap pictures with guests and provide a unique talking point on the night.

We are so proud to be part of this fantastic sector and this prestigious event. It was another amazing night celebrating tourism excellence in the North East and we were delighted to be headline sponsor.
Bidfood’s Head of Business Development for the North East, Susan Justice
Newcastle College continues to be a proud supporter of the North East Tourism Awards, which is always wonderful celebration of our region, and of the venues and destinations that play such a vital part in supporting its growth. “Our close relationships with NGI and all of the local businesses at the heart of our region’s tourism industry help prepare young people in our region for their future career, and this year’s Tourism Awards was another fantastic opportunity for our learners to gain new skills, experience and connect with employers.
Lisa Hamilton-Murray, Deputy Principal of Newcastle College
This year’s winners were a fantastic example of the innovative and diverse range of tourism businesses we can offer visitors to the North East. Through Destination North East England we are working collaboratively with our delivery partners Visit County Durham and Visit Northumberland and in partnership with all seven local authority partners to unlock the potential of our visitor economy and we need to continue to support businesses such as these, and develop future products and experiences to ensure we claim our deserved spot on the visitor trail.
Destination North East England Chair, John Marshall
It was wonderful to be a part of tonight’s event at what is an exciting time for the region. With an expected £4.2bn of additional investment over 30 years, devolution marks an exciting new chapter in the North East’s story. This landmark deal will bring together each of the region’s local authorities, its proud people and its passionate communities to form a powerful collective that will have an amplified voice in our nation’s conversation. “At the centre of this story, will be the North East ’s visitor economy, those businesses who were honoured tonight. Together we will need to work together to achieve our ambition of doubling the size of the visitor economy in the next 10 years.
Cllr Amanda Hopgood, Leader of Durham County Council and Interim portfolio holder for culture, creative, tourism and sport for the new North East Combined Authority

Winners of the North East England Tourism Awards have the chance to progress through to the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence, giving visitor economy businesses the opportunity to compete on national stage and showcase their business among the best in the country.

The full list of winners can be viewed on the Eevent app.

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