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Putting the spotlight on York’s Tourism Superstars Businesses urged to enter for Oscars of the North…

Entries are now officially open for the prestigious Visit York Tourism Awards, returning on 26 May to shine the spotlight on excellence in the tourism industry and reward outstanding service, innovation and quality. The event will provide a fantastic platform to showcase your business to a 500 strong audience from across York’s tourism sector. The prestigious awards are without a doubt the Tourism Oscars of the North.

Businesses from across the city, from hotels to restaurants, pubs to visitor attractions have till the deadline on 22 February to submit their winning entries. Online registration has been launched for these annual awards which recognize the cream of the crop in tourism across the city and beyond.

Kate McMullen, Head of Tourism, Make It York, said, ‘Entering the Visit York Tourism Awards offers an opportunity for businesses to celebrate the fantastic things achieved. Could 2016 be your time to shine? Big or small, your business entry matters and these Awards offer the chance to profile your business and be involved in this glittering celebration.’

York has earned itself a reputation for its variety of cafes and tearooms, so this year, the category the public will get to vote on will be; ‘Best Café or Tearoom. Any business can nominate itself and the winner will be decided by an online public vote. A social media campaign on Twitter ( and Facebook ( to encourage public voting via an online survey, will be launched in March using the hashtags #faveyorkcafe and #VYTA16.

The fifteen award categories for 2016 are: Bed and Breakfast the Year; Café or Tearoom of the Year (the People’s Choice Award), Caravan Park or Holiday Village of the Year, Conference Venue of the Year, Family Friendly Experience of the Year, Hotel of the Year, Outstanding Customer Service of the Year, Pub of the Year, Restaurant of the Year, Self-catering of the Year; Shopping Experience 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 and the highly prestigious title of York Tourism Ambassador.

Tom Pearcy Owner, York Maze, said, ‘Scooping the title Best Visitor Attraction at the 2015 Tourism Awards was a fantastic experience for us. The award recognized all the hard work and dedication of our team and we’re looking forward to welcoming visitors when the Maze opens again with our new theme for 2016.’

A panel of independent judges will decide on the final shortlist and winners through a mix of mystery shopping and rigorous analysis against the entry criteria. A prestigious Black Tie Awards ceremony announcing the winners will be held on Thursday 26 May at the National Railway Museum, compered by Gayle and Ben from Minster FM’s breakfast show.

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



For further information please contact:

Kay Hyde – Head of PR and Communications – Visit York
Direct Line: 01904 554451
Mobile: 07506 048852

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

Notes to Editors:

Make It York (York’s Destination Organisation) has an overarching remit to market the city and its surroundings – nationally and internationally - as a vibrant and attractive place to live, visit, study, work and do business. The 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

New key tourism facts:
6.8 million visitors annually, £608 million total visitor spend, supporting 20,300 jobs

2015 Visit York Tourism Award Winners were:

Bed & Breakfast of the Year – Sponsored by Make it York
Winner - Bishops Guest House

Café/Tearoom of the Year – Sponsored by City of York Council
Winner - El Piano

Caravan Park of the Year – Sponsored by The Video Agency
Winner - Robin Hood Caravan Park

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

Hotel of the Year – Sponsored by Streamline Taxi’s
Winner - The Black Swan Hotel, Helmsley

Outstanding Customer Service Award – Sponsored by Santander
Winner - Hilton Hotel, York - Donna Pryce

Pub/Bar of the Year – Sponsored by Webmart
Winner - The Blue Boar

Restaurant of the Year – Sponsored by Morrell Middleton
Winner - Middlethorpe Hall & Spa

Self-Catering Venue of the Year – Sponsored by Be Independent
The Dovecote Barns

Shopping Experience of the Year – Sponsored by Fulprint
Winner - Love Cheese

Visitor Attraction of the Year (Over 50,000 Visitors) – Sponsored by F.R. Fowler & Son
York Maze

Visitor Attraction of the Year (Under 50,000 Visitors) – Sponsored by York North Yorkshire East Riding Enterprise Partnership
Winner - Yorkshire's Winter Wonderland

Visitor Experience of the Year – Sponsored by York Data Services
Winner - York Maze – HallowScream

York Tourism Ambassador
Roger Lee - Director of Time and Place Catering, Bedern Hall and Chairman of the York Festival Trust

There are five 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.