Issued by: Make It York
Issue Date: Friday 21 June 2019

Sixteen of York’s top tourism businesses celebrated a win in the Visit York annual Tourism Awards last night (Thursday 20 June). Supported by headline sponsor LNER, a prestigious Black Tie awards ceremony was held in the Station Hall of the National Railway Museum, compered by breakfast show hosts Ben Fry from Minster FM.

Two new categories were introduced this year with York Gin scooping the title of ‘Best Tourism Supplier’ and Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre being crowned for their efforts in ‘Innovation in Tourism’.

The ‘Tourism Champion’ crown was passed on from last year’s winner Ann Deller to James Cundall MBE. James was recognised for his outstanding contribution to tourism and culture in York and as Chief Executive of Lunchbox Productions, James is the driving force behind the first ever pop-up Shakespearean theatre in Europe that wowed crowds in York over the summer of 2018. 

Marking its 22nd year, the Visit York Tourism Awards celebrate those who offer that extra special service and experience for York’s 6.9 million visitors, recognising and rewarding excellence in the city’s multi-million pound tourism sector.

In two of the most hotly contested categories, Grays Court scooped ‘Hotel of the Year’ award for the second year running, and the title of the ‘Large Attraction of the Year’ went to City Cruises York.

Fresh off of their success from the National Restaurant Awards Top 100 list, Tommy Banks’ Roots scooped the ’Restaurant of the Year’ title.

World of James Herriot received the title of the ‘Small Attraction of the Year’, while the team behind the York Maze Hallowscream were frightfully pleased with the ‘Visitor Experience of the Year’ accolade. The Shop That Must Not Be Named was awarded the title of the ‘Shop of the Year’ for their magical ability to bring people from around the globe to experience the world of wizardry.

Paul Whiting, Head of Visit York, said: “We congratulate all the winners and finalists of this year’s Tourism Awards for their continued dedication for improving the visitor experience in the city and beyond. The tourism offer in York is outstanding and each year we are continually impressed with what is achieved.” 

Headline sponsor LNER attended the ceremony, with David Horne, Managing Director of LNER commenting:  “It was great to celebrate some of the brilliant individuals and businesses that help make York such a fantastic place to visit. As a result of their hard work, we see people from across the world travelling with us to the region to see the famous sites and attractions on offer.

I’d like to say a big congratulations to all the winners and those shortlisted for a fantastic year.”

Sixteen businesses sponsored the glittering awards ceremony showing their support for the tourism industry, which included a black tie dinner, prize draw and live music by local band the Y Street Band. Proceeds from the charity raffle will go to the Family Holiday Association, helping families in need across Yorkshire to enjoy a visit to York.

James Cundall MBE has had a unique career which has combined private banking and producing the biggest global brands in live entertainment. In 2018 James brought Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre to York for a summer season of the Bard’s best known plays in the first ever pop-up Elizabethan theatre in Europe. The success of this inaugral run has allowed them to expand both to Blenheim Palace and York again for 2019, enabling thousands of people to experience the works of Shakespeare in a unique setting. James is also the creative mind behind York’s annual outdoor Christmas ice-rink, The Ice Factor.

Paul added: “James has been involved in many high-profile events and experiences and we are fortunate that he has chosen his home city as host. Initiatives such as Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre have absolutely evolved York’s offer and brought the city to a wider audience across the globe. We could think of no-one more deserving of the crown of Tourism Champion this year, as his passion and commitment to everything he does shines through. We are delighted to be able to recognise his hard work tonight.”  ENDS

Winners of the Visit York Tourism Awards 2019:

Pub or Bar of the Year
Sponsored by Hunter Gee Holroyd
Winner: Walmgate Ale House
Cut & Chase
The Whippet Inn

Self Catering Venue of the Year
Sponsored by HomeAway  
Winner: York Old Brewery
Highly Commended: The House at Crooked End
Studford Luxury Lodges

Conference Venue of the Year
Sponsored by Saville Group
Winner: The Principal York
The Grand, York
York Racecourse

Newcomer of the Year
Sponsored by Hungate York Regeneration
Winner: Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre
Roots York
The Enchantment Chamber

Bed & Breakfast or Guest House of the Year
Sponsored by
Winner: Tower Guest House
No. 21 York

Tourism Supplier of the Year
Sponsored by P&O Ferries
Winner: York Gin
Pick & Mix Marketing
Pyper York

Hotel of the Year
Sponsored by Streamline Taxis
Winner: Grays Court Hotel
Hotel Indigo
The Black Swan Hotel
The Grand, York
The Principal York

Visitor Attraction of the Year (Over 50,000 Visitors)
Sponsored by Fowlers of York
Winner: City Cruises York
Flamingo Land Resort
JORVIK Viking Centre
The York Dungeon
Yorkshire Museum

Visitor Attraction of the Year (under 50,000 visitors)
Sponsored by City Cruises
Winner: World of James Herriot
The Black Sheep Brewery
The Ghost Bus Tours
York Army Museum

Guided Tour of the Year
Sponsored by Colour Options
Winner: The Bloody Tour of York
Castle Howard
City Cruises York
York’s Chocolate Story

Restaurant of the Year
Sponsored by Morrell Middleton  
Winner: Roots, York
The Whippet Inn
The Chopping Block
Vaqueiros Brazilian Rodizio

Café or Tearoom of the Year
Sponsored by Crombie Wilkinson Solicitors
Winner: The Principal Hotel Garden Room
Crumbs Cupcakery
The Balloon Tree Farmshop & Café
The Countess of York

Shop of the Year
Sponsored by Minster FM
Winner: The Shop That Must Not Be Named
The Balloon Tree Farmshop & Café
Wild & Westbrooke

Innovation in Tourism
Sponsored by The University of York
Winner: Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre
Highly Commended: Yorkshire’s Jurassic World at the Yorkshire Museum
Castle Howard
North Yorkshire Moors Railway
The Grand, York

Visitor Experience of the Year
Sponsored by Yorkshire Gas & Power
Winner: York Maze Hallowscream
The Bloody Tour of York
JORVIK Viking Festival
Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre

Visit York Tourism Champion 2019
Sponsored by LNER
Awarded to: James Cundall MBE


Notes to the Editor

For further information please contact:
Katie Parsons – Senior Corporate Communications Executive
Direct Line: 01904 554436

Ana Ignatova – Marketing and PR Assistant
Direct Line: 01904 555680

About 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