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Finalists revealed for Visit York Annual Tourism Awards

The Frankel Factor at York racecourse, Umbrella Sky at Clifford’s Tower and last summer’s ambitious production of the York Mystery Plays – these are three of the visitor experiences which have been shortlisted for a coveted Visit York Tourism Award.

Following record entry levels; fifty four tourism businesses in all have been shortlisted by a panel of independent judges for York’s 2013 annual Tourism Awards, which will take place on Thursday 9 May at York Racecourse.

From Visitor Attraction of the Year to the Outstanding Customer Service Award, the thirteen award categories will showcase the cream of the crop in York’s tourism businesses and will celebrate those going the extra mile to give visitors a memorable and quality experience.

Over the coming weeks, the panel of judges will be reviewing the shortlisted businesses and conducting ‘mystery shopping’ visits. Winners from each category will then have the opportunity to go forward to the regional White Rose Awards and the national VisitEngland Awards for Excellence. Three new categories will be hotly contested this year which are Restaurant of the Year, Café/Tearoom of the Year and best Visitor Experience.

Gillian Cruddas MBE, Chief Executive of Visit York, said, ‘York’s tourism businesses continually strive to achieve higher and higher standards in order to retain a competitive edge. This is one of the many reasons York remains a world class visitor destination and I wish all the finalists the very best of luck for 9 May.’

York’s Tourism Ambassador 2013, which was awarded to Ian Reed, Director of Yorkshire Air Museum in 2012, will be kept a hidden secret till the night of the awards and revealed to an audience of over four hundred.

The 2013 Visit York Tourism Awards finalists are as follows:

Guest Accommodation of the Year
The Bloomsbury
Carlton House

Hotel of the Year
Cedar Court Grand Hotel & Spa
Dean Court Hotel
Middlethorpe Hall & Spa
Novotel York
Royal York Hotel & Event Centre
York Marriott Hotel

Self Catering/Caravan Park of the Year
Apartments 5, 6 & 12 Monkbridge Court
Jollydays Luxury Camping
The Riverside York
Robin Hood Caravan Park
The York Hop Store

Restaurant of the Year
El Piano
The Grill Room at Cedar Court Grand Hotel & Spa
Mumbai Lounge
The Oak Room at Middlethorpe Hall & Spa
The Royal Oak

Café/Tearoom of the Year
Café Harlequin
Filmore & Union
Spring Espresso
York Cocoa House

Visitor Attraction of the Year
Beningbrough Hall and Gardens
National Railway Museum
York Castle Museum
York Maze

Visitor Experience of the Year
Jorvik Viking Festival
York Maze Halloween/Hallowscream
York Minster /The Orb
York Mystery Plays 2012
York Racecourse - Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival 2012

Shopping Experience of the Year
Hotel Chocolat
Jack Wolfskin
Now and Then Events - York Does Vintage
York Cocoa House

Marketing Campaign of the Year
Now and Then Events - York Does Vintage
Umbrella Sky at Clifford’s Tower
York Maze 2012 & Halloween Events
York Mystery Plays 2012
York Racecourse - Unlocking the Frankel Factor

Conference Venue of the Year
National Railway Museum
Royal York Hotel & Event Centre
The Merchant Taylors Hall
York Conferences
York Racecourse Hospitality

Outstanding Customer Service Award
Amanda Fogg - Hedley House Hotel
Guy Wallis - The Golden Fleece
Shirley Fletcher- Hilton York
Alexandra Claydon & Samantha de la Tour, Now and Then Events
Rebecca & Damian Palmer-Bunting, Robin Hood Caravan Park

Finalists for the People’s Choice Award – Pub/Bar of the Year will be revealed next week when members of the public will be invited to vote online at to decide the nation’s favourite pub or bar to enjoy a tipple in York.

Tickets for the Visit York Tourism Awards cost £45 + VAT. For further information on the awards call Alison Ruddick, Events Executive on 01904 554458 or email

To find out more about the Awards visit ENDS.

For further information please contact:

Kay Hyde – Head of PR and Communications – Visit York
Direct Line: 01904 554451
Mobile: 07961 828092

Katie Parsons – Senior Communications Executive – Visit York
Direct Line: 01904 554436

Notes To The Editor

Tourism Ambassador Award
This award goes to an individual who consistently goes out of his or her way to ensure visitors have a memorable time in York and leave wanting to revisit. Previous winners have included the Archbishop of York and Sister Agatha of the Bar Convent. The 2012 winner was Ian Reed, Director of Yorkshire Air Museum, whose dedicated work over the last twenty years raised the profile of York around the world.

2012 Visit York Tourism Award Winners
• Hotel of the Year, Middlethorpe Hall & Spa
• Guest Accommodation of the Year, Bishops
• Self-catering/Caravan Park of the Year, Dovecote Barns
• Pub of the Year, The Golden Fleece
• Outstanding Customer Service Award, Shirley Fletcher – Hilton York
• Business Tourism Award, York Marriott Hotel
• Marketing Campaign of the Year, York Maze
• Employee of the Year, Alan Rowley – Complete Yorkshire
• Best Shopping Experience, The Hairy Fig
• Visitor Attraction of the Year (under 50,000 visitors), The Ice Factor
• Visitor Attraction of the Year (50,000 visitors & over), York Racecourse 2011 season
• Taste of York – The People’s Choice Award, El Piano
• York Tourism Ambassador, Ian Reed – Yorkshire Air Museum

Visit York
• Visit York is supported by the City of York Council and over 700 tourism businesses and works in partnership with Visit England.
• Visit York’s aim is to market York as a must-see world-class destination to the leisure and business visitor, and ensure investment to develop the quality of tourism in York. Visit York is responsible for leisure and conference marketing, visitor services (running the city’s Visitor Information Centre), training and ensuring a quality visitor experience.
• Visit York is the driving force of the city’s tourism industry.

Key facts:
7.1 million visitors
£443 million total visitor spend
23, 000 jobs