Luxury hotel Seaham Hall has booked a place in the spotlight with its nomination for a national tourism award.
The five-star hotel and spa in County Durham has been shortlisted in the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence 2020 amid fierce competition around the country.
And, at a time national recognition is all important as tourism businesses seek to get back on their feet after months of lockdown, there is huge excitement ahead of the awards which this year will take the form of a virtual event on August 17.
Seaham Hall – which previously scooped Gold at the regional awards after impressing a panel of industry experts and a visit from a mystery shopper – is shortlisted in the Small Hotel of the Year category.
It will be representing County Durham at the event which champions the best of the country’s tourism industry and celebrates quality, innovation and best practice.
Another nod to local success goes to Visit County Durham which, along with fellow North East destination and marketing organisation NewcastleGateshead Initiative, has been shortlisted in a new category: the International Distribution Award.
This recognises destinations committed to raising their international profile, including offering tourist experiences which are bookable online.
Other North East businesses with nominations in different categories of the awards are Hjem restaurant and St Cuthbert’s House B&B, both in Northumberland.
NGI presents the annual North East England Tourism Awards at which the current nominees this year won recognition for their success stories and earned their place in the national competition.
The local awards’ director of leisure tourism Ian Thomas said of the now-shortlisted businesses: “They represent some of the finest examples of our country’s tourism industry and show off the amazing coast and countryside that we have on our doorstep in the North East.
“The awards announcements are well-timed as our businesses begin to reopen after a difficult few months and will give a welcome boost to the sector.”
He added: “What’s more, this year NGI has itself been shortlisted for an award for our work in attracting international visitors to the region.
“After leading on the delivery of the North East England Tourism Awards for many years, it makes a different but exciting experience to be up for an award ourselves.”
VisitEngland chief executive, Sally Balcombe, said the upcoming awards single out those businesses which have “exceeded expectations and delivered excellence during the last 18 months”.
She added: “Millions of jobs and local economies depend on tourism and this year’s awards are also a timely opportunity to acknowledge the determination and dedication of tourism businesses across the country who have worked extremely hard to reopen and welcome visitors back safely.”
The full list of national finalists can be seen here. The 2020 Visit England Awards for Excellence event will be streamed live here on August 17 from 7pm to 9pm and also can be watched on the VisitEngland YouTube channel here.
For more about Seaham Hall, which has announced its Serenity Spa will be reopening to non-residents from August 3, see here.