Yorkshire firms line up to celebrate successful year at 2017 White Rose Awards

Welcome to Yorkshire chief executive Sir Gary Verity, centre, with hosts Amy Garcia and Harry Gration at the 2016 awards.
Welcome to Yorkshire chief executive Sir Gary Verity, centre, with hosts Amy Garcia and Harry Gration at the 2016 awards.

Businesses at the heart of Yorkshire’s thriving tourism industry will be toasted when the eagerly anticipated White Rose Awards take place tomorrow.

Billed as the UK’s biggest celebration of tourism, the ceremony brings together the hotels, holiday parks, pubs, restaurants, cultural venues and attractions which help the sector to generate £7bn for the region’s economy every year.

They will be joined by the teams behind some of the county’s most popular events, including the Great Yorkshire Show, Huddersfield Literature Festival and Wakefield Festival of Food, Drink and Rhubarb.

And the likes of Driffield’s Wold Top Brewery, Masons Yorkshire Gin and Yorkshire Dama Cheese will also be vying for awards in categories honouring exceptional food and drink producers.

This year’s finalists include many of the county’s established stars, but they will face stiff competition from a number of newcomers.

LISTED: All the Welcome to Yorkshire White Rose Awards 2017 finalists

Announcing the shortlist earlier this year, chairman of the judges Colin Mellor said: “Yorkshire’s tourism businesses are truly exceptional, bringing large numbers of visitors and income to the region and enhancing our reputation at home and abroad.

“What they have in common is their firm commitment to ensuring guests enjoy unrivalled hospitality, produce, facilities and experiences. The fantastic scenery and heritage provide the icing on the cake.

“With so many strong entries, shortlisting was very difficult this year. Choosing the eventual winners is going to be really tough.”

But the wait to find out which of those shortlisted finalists made the grade is almost over.

About 1,000 guests will gather at First Direct Arena in Leeds on Monday to hear the winner in each of the 17 categories announced.

Sir Gary Verity, chief executive of awards organisers Welcome to Yorkshire, said: “We’re really looking forward to welcoming the best in Yorkshire’s tourism industry to our Big Night Out.

“Guests including boxer Josh Warrington and Yorkshire’s rugby league heroes will be joining us to celebrate all the great things our county has to offer that continue to make us a top visitor destination.”

The players and management from Leeds Rhinos, Castleford Tigers, Hull FC and Bradford Bulls’ Women will also be bringing their trophies along to the event.

Headline sponsor Twisted – a Thirsk-based company that rebuilds and modifies Land Rover Defenders – has a display of its own vehicles outside the venue too.

Other guests will include stars of ITV soap Emmerdale, which is celebrating its 45th year on our screens.

The celebrations begin at 6pm with a drinks reception and will be followed by a Michelin-star-inspired menu from Simon Gueller, owner and chef of The Box Tree in Ilkley. There will be live music and entertainment, all performed by Yorkshire artists as you might expect, plus an exclusive first screening of Welcome to Yorkshire’s new film promoting the county.

The awards themselves will be hosted by BBC Look North’s Harry Gration and Amy Garcia, who will take to a stage surrounded by large screens in the centre of the audience to offer a truly immersive experience.

A small number of tickets are available at £75, plus VAT. Email efarlam@yorkshire.com, visit www.whiteroseawards.com or call 0113 322 3500.