Local Geordie and critically acclaimed stand-up comedian and TV host Chris Ramsey has been announced as the compere for the 2020 North East England Tourism Awards. Alongside hosting the Awards ceremony on Tuesday 24 March, he will be doing a short stand-up routine.
Tourism businesses in the North East are now being encouraged to enter the Awards with less than a month to go until applications close at 9am on Monday 7 October. The Awards celebrate quality, innovation and best practice throughout the region, highlighting the North East’s exciting visitor offering.
The format of the Awards has been tweaked this year so that they now align more closely with the modernised VisitEngland Awards for Excellence, which are celebrating their 30th year. To mark this, VisitEngland launched the revamped Awards to reflect innovations across England’s tourism industry.
New categories introduced for the 2020 North East England Tourism Awards include Experience of the Year, International Tourism Award and New Tourism Business Award.
Sarah Stewart, chief executive of destination management and marketing agency NewcastleGateshead Initiative, said: “It’s brilliant to have Chris Ramsey compering the revamped Awards in 2020. Being a Geordie, he knows all about the North East and our amazing tourism sector and is a perfect fit for the Awards.
“The North East England Tourism Awards are a great way for us to celebrate the success of our tourism sector and give local businesses the opportunity to showcase the region on a national stage. The refreshed format aligns the Awards more closely with the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence and reflects changes in the industry, such as the impact of digital technology, demand for experienced-based travel and the need to tailor tourism products for international visitors.”
It has been confirmed that Bidfood and Newcastle College will continue their support for the Awards as event sponsors for 2020.
Lisa Hamilton-Murray, assistant principal at Newcastle College, said: “At Newcastle College we have a significant number of students working towards a career in the sector. On completion of their course they contribute significantly to the North East tourism industry and that’s why we’re delighted to align ourselves to these awards for another year.
“We pride ourselves on our fantastic partnerships with the best regional and national hotels, restaurants and resorts. These links provide our students with valuable work experience, creating opportunities for them to forge successful careers within the sector.
“The North East Tourism Awards are a great opportunity to support and celebrate the successes of the thriving tourism industry in the North East.”
Jane Tiplady, General Manager of Bidfood North East, said: “This is the third year running that we have sponsored the North East England Tourism Awards, and we are delighted to be doing so. Due to the new format of the Awards, even more fantastic tourism and hospitality businesses from across the region have the chance to be recognised.
“At Bidfood North East we are extremely proud of the region and can’t wait to celebrate those organisations that go above and beyond to deliver the best possible experience to those visiting the region.”
New application forms and a different judging system are part of the revamped Awards, with a greater focus on experiencing the North East tourism industry first-hand. Eligible winners of certain categories will be automatically put forward to the national VisitEngland Awards for Excellence 2020.
The Awards are supported by the North East Tourism Alliance – a collaboration of the region’s tourism bodies who work together on projects that will benefit the tourism industry across the region. The founding members of the alliance are NewcastleGateshead Initiative, Northumberland Tourism, Visit County Durham, and The North East Hotels Association. The North East England Tourism Awards are also supported by South Tyneside Council and North Tyneside Council.