Info & FAQs

Welcome to the North East England Tourism Awards 2021/22! The North East England Tourism Awards celebrate quality, innovation and best practice throughout the region, highlighting the North East’s exciting visitor offering. We are delighted to announce that the awards will be back this and delivered in association with the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence and have the same application process, judging format and new categories for this year.

It’s a great distinction to receive a North East England Tourism Award. They recognise, congratulate and celebrate businesses and individuals that deliver amazing experiences for visitors.

Here are just a few reasons why you should enter this year’s awards:

  • The Awards champion innovation in tourism and inspire business excellence.
  • The modernised approach, introduced in March 2019, aligns local and regional competitions with the VisitEngland Awards, uniting them with an agreed collaborative purpose, application system and judging process.
  • The application process is easier than ever before. Applicants are only required to complete one application, in one system.
  • Application forms have been simplified and refocused on: Recent Improvements, Top Qualities, Results, Future Plans with for this year got a focus of Covid-19.
  • All applicants need to progress through a local/regional competition to reach the national Awards.
  • Eligible winners from North East England Tourism Awards 2021-22 will automatically feed into the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence 2022 for the chance to be recognised as a national winner.
  • For more information on the national VisitEngland Awards for Excellence, visit https://www.visitbritain.org/business-advice/enter-awards-excellence or email VEAwards@VisitEngland.org.

The Awards champion innovation in tourism and inspire business excellence.

We want you to maximise your chances of winning by presenting the strongest possible entry. Please remember that judges might not know your business personally and will be shortlisting based exclusively on the materials you provide in your application. It is important, therefore, that your entry is clearly presented and easy to read, addresses the judging criteria, looks professional and conveys what it is that makes your business special.

This year for our 2021-22 Awards entrants must submit an application form via our online portal. 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.

We recommend you read through our Terms and Conditions before starting your application, and if you would like to check the requirements for each category before beginning your application you can download a blank from our website.

How do I apply?

  • Click on ‘apply now’ at the top of the website.
  • Once you have chosen the category you wish to apply for you will need to create an account. This will enable you to login and update your application form in your own time. You will be able to save and go back to your application form as many times as you like before you submit your application.
  • If you wish to preview the application questions beforehand, a Word copy of each application form is also available on the VisitEngland website, please view here, familiarise yourself with the questions and/or fill out offline before uploading your responses.

How have the 2021/22 Awards changed this year?
The format of the Awards has been updated to align local and regional competitions with the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence.

Application forms have been simplified and refocused on: recent improvements, top qualities, results, future plans with this year have a focus on Covid-19. And as the applications are aligned with the national awards businesses are only required to complete one application, in one system.

There are also new categories relating to the pandemic and a different judging system in which some categories will receive a pre-arranged visit in place of a mystery shopper visit. (If you are eligible for the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence you will not receive a second mystery shopper visit).

Categories for 2021/22ProcessType of visit
B&B and Guest House of the YearPanel of 3 shortlist & planned visitPrearranged planned visit (including breakfast)
Camping, Glamping and Holiday Park of the YearPanel of 3 shortlist & planned visitPrearranged planned visit (When feasible visits will be on change-over day to see as many units/pitches as possible).
Large Hotel of the YearPanel of 3 shortlist & planned visitPrearranged planned visit (including lunch or evening meal; and breakfast where feasible)
Small Hotel of the YearPanel of 3 shortlist & planned visitPrearranged planned visit (including lunch or evening meal; and breakfast where feasible)
Pub of the YearPanel of 3 shortlist & mystery shopper visitUnannounced day visit (including lunch or evening meal for 2 people)
Self-Catering Accommodation of the YearPanel of 3 shortlist & planned visitPrearranged planned visit (When feasible visits will be on change-over day to see as much of the property and /or as many units as possible).
Large Visitor Attraction of the YearPanel of 3 shortlist & mystery shopper visitUnannounced day visit (One judge day visit for up to family of four).
Small Visitor Attraction of the YearPanel of 3 shortlist & mystery shopper visitUnannounced day visit (One judge day visit for up to family of four).
Experience of the YearPanel of 3 shortlist & mystery shopper visitUnannounced day visit (One judge day visit for up to family of four).
New Tourism Business AwardPanel of 3 shortlist & planned visitPrearranged planned visit
Taste of North East England AwardPanel of 3 shortlist & mystery shopper visitUnannounced day visit (One judge meal and drink for 2 people).
Accessible and Inclusive Tourism AwardPanel of 3 shortlist & planned visitPrearranged planned visit
Ethical, Responsible and Sustainable Tourism AwardPanel of 3 shortlist & planned visitPrearranged planned visit
Resilience and Innovation AwardPanel of 3 shortlistNo judging visit
Unsung Hero AwardPanel of 3 shortlistNo judging visit

Which categories are new for 2021/22?
New categories introduced for tourism businesses to enter include:

  • Resilience and Innovation Award to recognise businesses within the tourism industry who have demonstrated innovation, resilience and adaptation, along with support for their local communities, during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Unsung Hero Award to recognise an individual working for a tourism business who excels in their role and deserves to be applauded for their work and commitment to the industry.

Who can enter?
The North East England Tourism Awards are open to all tourism businesses which meet the published criteria for the category or categories they are entering. Entrants from Northumberland, Tyne & Wear, Teesside and County Durham are eligible to apply. If you are unsure about your eligibility for any of our categories, please contact us at tourismawards@ngi.org.uk.

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.

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.

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 call us on 0191 440 5724 or you can email us at tourismawards@ngi.org.uk.

The closing date for receipt of applications is 12pm on Thursday 23rd September 2021.

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 is 12pm on Thursday 23rd September 2021. The Judges will assess each application and a shortlist will be identified. Applicants will be advised whether or not they have been short-listed by the end of September 2021.

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 become a finalist.

How is the judging carried out?
Judging is carried out by a panel of 3 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.

Please note this year due to COVID-19 the mystery shopper visits with overnight stays for this year only have reverted to pre-announced visits. For further details please see the table below for each category judging criteria.

The pre-arranged judges visit will last 45 minutes which 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. Judging is carried out by professionals with extensive experience and knowledge of the tourism industry.

The categories that will be visited by a mystery shopper will be a full day experience 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 4th October 2021 – 11th February 2022. 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 for March 2022 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 contact us on 0191 440 5724 or you can email tourismawards@ngi.org.uk.

Good Luck!