Info & FAQs

Click here to apply for the 2023 North East England Tourism Awards

Welcome to the North East England Tourism Awards 2022/23! The North East England Tourism Awards celebrate quality, innovation and best practice throughout the region, highlighting the North East’s exciting visitor offering. The awards are being 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 the 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.
  • All applicants need to progress through a local/regional competition to reach the national Awards.
  • Eligible winners from North East England Tourism Awards 2022/23 will automatically feed into the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence 2023 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 2022/23 Awards entrants submitted an application form via our online portal. The judging was then 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 also looked at your online customer reviews.

Businesses can read the Terms and Conditions here.

How do I apply?

  • Click on ‘apply now’.
  • 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.
CategoryProcessRound 2 Judging Visit
B&B and Guest House of the YearPanel of 3 shortlist & mystery shopper visitUnannounced and overnight visit (including breakfast),
but with the option for a pre-booked announced day visit if necessary
Small Hotel of the Year Panel of 3 shortlist & mystery shopper visitUnannounced and overnight visit and overnight visit (including lunch or evening meal; and breakfast where feasible),but with the option for a pre-booked announced day visit if necessary (but still including lunch or evening meal; and breakfast where feasible)
Large Hotel of the YearPanel of 3 shortlist & mystery shopper visitUnannounced and overnight visit (including lunch or evening meal; and breakfast where feasible),
but with the option for a pre-booked announced day visit if necessary (but still including lunch or evening meal; and breakfast where feasible)
Camping, Glamping and Holiday Park of the YearPanel of 3 shortlist & mystery shopper visitUnannounced and overnight visit, but with the option for an announced-on-arrival day visit or pre-booked announced day visit. (If pre planned when feasible visits will be on change-over day to see as many units/pitches as possible).

Self Catering Accommodation of the YearPanel of 3 shortlist & planned visitPre-booked announced day visit. When feasible visits will be on change-over day to see as much of the property and /or as many units as possible)
Small Visitor Attraction of the YearPanel of 3 shortlist & mystery shopper visitUnannounced day visit (One judge day visit for up to family of four).
Large Visitor Attraction of the YearPanel of 3 shortlist & mystery shopper visitUnannounced day visit (One judge day visit for up to family of four).
Pub of the YearPanel of 3 shortlist & mystery shopper visitUnannounced day visit including lunch or evening meal for 2 people.
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 visitPre-booked announced day visit
Taste of 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 visitPre-booked announced day visit
Business Events Venue of the YearPanel of 3 shortlist & planned visitPre-booked announced day visit
Ethical, Responsible and Sustainable Tourism AwardPanel of 3 shortlist & planned visitPre-booked announced day visit
Resilience and Innovation AwardPanel of 3 shortlistNo judging visit
Unsung Hero AwardPanel of 3 shortlistNo judging visit

Which categories are new for 2022/23?
New categories introduced for tourism businesses to enter include:

  • Business Events Venue of the Year, recognises business events venues that demonstrate an excellent understanding of the market, exceeding the expectations of their clients and have a strategic plan for future development within this area, with clear goals.

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 email us at tourismawards@ngi.org.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 is 5pm on Thursday 22nd September 2022. 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 October 2022.

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.

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 03rd October 2022 – 10th February 2023. 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 2023 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@ngi.org.uk

Category Criteria
If you would like further information on category criteria please click here.

Tourism Awards Application Webinar

In order to support our region’s tourism businesses with writing successful North East England Tourism Awards applications, we ran a free award application workshop.

It will guide you through the full application process and the session will help existing and potential new applicants to understand:

• The benefits to applying
• What the judges are looking for
• How to create the best applications
• How to make the most of an organisation’s participation and success

To watch the webinar click here

Good Luck!