Issued by:  Visit York
Issue Date:  Friday 22 February 2019

Entries are officially open for the prestigious Visit York Tourism Awards, returning on Thursday 20 June to shine a spotlight on excellence in the tourism industry and reward outstanding service, innovation and quality.  The event will provide a fantastic platform to showcase tourism businesses to a 500 strong audience from across York’s tourism sector.

There are 16 categories to enter, including two new ones: Tourism Supplier of the Year and Innovation in Tourism.  These prestigious Tourism Oscars of the North will be compered by Minster FM Breakfast Presenter Ben Fry and held in the Great Hall of the National Railway Museum, where guests will rub shoulders with railway legends, from history-makers to record-breakers.

Businesses from across the city, from hotels to restaurants, pubs to visitor attractions are being urged to enter and have until the deadline on Monday 4 March to submit their winning entries. 

Paul Whiting, Head of Visit York, said: “Our awards recognise the best of the best in the tourism sector, across the city and beyond.  They reward businesses who continually offer that extra special service for York’s 6.9 million visitors.  Winning is both prestigious and a validation of the hard work that goes into offering an award-winning experience and we look forward to celebrating all the winners at the ceremony in June.”

The sixteen award categories for 2019 are:

Bed and Breakfast or Guest House the Year, Café or Tearoom of the Year, Conference Venue of the Year, Hotel of the Year, Newcomer of the Year, Pub or Bar of the Year, Restaurant of the Year, Self-catering venue of the Year, Shop of the Year, Visitor Attraction of the Year (over 50,000 visitors), Visitor Attraction of the Year (under 50,000), Visitor Experience of the Year, Guided Tour of the Year, Tourism Supplier of Year, Innovation in Tourism and the Visit York Tourism Champion 2019.

The Tourism Champion award category is in recognition of an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to York’s Tourism Industry.  Once all the entries are in, a panel of independent judges will decide on the final shortlist and winners through a mix of mystery shopping by Insight6 and rigorous analysis against the entry criteria.

Businesses can download the forms and enter the Visit York Tourism Awards online at  Winners can then go forward to the regional White Rose Awards and national VisitEngland Awards for Excellence.   ENDS

For further information please contact:
Kay Hyde – Head of PR and Communications – Visit York
Direct Line: 01904 554451
Mobile: 07506 048852

Notes to Editors:

Make It York
Make It York’s purpose is to develop and promote the city and its surroundings – nationally and internationally - as a vibrant and attractive place to live, visit, study, work and do business.  The company’s remit covers leisure and business tourism, city centre management, festivals and events, business support and inward investment.

Visit York is a part of Make It York and is the leisure tourism brand
Under the brand Visit York, Make It York’s aim is to market York as a must-see world-class destination to the leisure visitor and ensure investment to develop the quality of tourism in York.

Key tourism facts:
6.9 million visitors annually, £564 million total visitor spend, supporting 19,000 jobs

Sponsors for the Visit York Tourism Awards 2018
BnB or Guest House of the Year –
Café or Tearoom of the Year – Crombie Wilkinson Solicitors
Conference Venue of the Year – Saville AV
Hotel of the Year – Streamline Taxis
Newcomer of the Year – Hungate York Regeneration
Pub or Bar of the Year – Hunter Gee Holroyd
Restaurant of the Year – Insure It Angels
Self-Catering Venue of the Year – HomeAway
Visitor Attraction of the Year – over 50,000 visitors – FR Fowler &  Son
Visitor Experience of the Year – Yorkshire Power & Gas
Innovation in Tourism Award – P&O Ferries

2018 Visit York Tourism Award Winners were:

B&B of the Year
Sponsored by Kashing
Winner: No.21 York

Café or Tearoom of the Year
Sponsored by Crombie Wilkinson Solicitors
Winner: The Balloon Tree Farmshop & Café

Conference Venue of the Year
Sponsored by Saville Audio Visual
Winner: York Racecourse

Family Friendly Experience of the Year
Sponsored by P&O Ferries
Winner: York Maze

Guided Tour of the Year
Sponsored by Colour Options
Winner: York Cycling Tours

Hotel of the Year
Sponsored by Streamline Taxis
Winner: Grays Court

Newcomer of the Year
Sponsored by Hungate York Regeneration
Winner: Askham Bryan Wildlife & Conservation Park

Outstanding Customer Service
Sponsored by Manchester Airport
Winner: Anna Bialochleb - The Whippet Inn Steak & Alehouse

Pub or Bar of the Year
Sponsored by Hunter Gee Holroyd
Winner: Chapter House York

Restaurant of the Year
Sponsored by Insure It Angels
Winner: Hudson’s by Craig Atchinson at The Grand Hotel & Spa

Self-catering Venue of the Year
Sponsored by Yorkshire Laundry Services
Winner: The Dovecote Barns           

Shopping Experience of the Year
Sponsored by Yorwaste Ltd
Winner: Azendi

Visitor Attraction of the Year (Over 50,000 Visitors)
Sponsored by F.R.Fowler & Son
Winner: JORVIK Viking Centre

Visitor Attraction of the Year (Under 50,000 Visitors)
Sponsored by Jelf
Winner: York Army Museum

Visitor Experience of the Year
Sponsored by Yorkshire Gas and Power
Winner: York Racecourse

Wedding Venue of the Year
Sponsored by Ambience Venue Styling
Winner: National Railway Museum

Visit York Tourism Champion 2018
Sponsored by Visit York
Awarded to: Ann Deller

Four fantastic reasons to enter:
Your chance to be different
- Winning or even being nominated for a Visit York Tourism Award offers the chance for you to differentiate your business against your competitors. This endorsement could be the difference between winning or losing business you are pitching for.

Great PR - Winning an award can increase media exposure for your business, through local, regional and national media and through online links increasing search engine optimisation. Using the award logo on your website and in your marketing will also encourage more customers to choose you. All finalists will be given the Visit York Tourism Awards logo to use on marketing materials. Motivate your staff - Winning or entering an award really helps motivate your team, providing role models for good practice and helps create a winning culture. Build your reputation - Winning an Award can help enhance the reputation of your business.