An unstinting commitment to high standards in the region’s tourism sector is ensuring that Yorkshire remains a number one visitor destination of international appeal, the county’s tourism chief said.
Welcome to Yorkshire celebrated the achievements of the region’s tourism industry in Harrogate last night by hosting the 2018 White Rose Awards, where the England football manager Gareth Southgate joined guests, via a video message, to be named an ‘Honorary Yorkshireman’.
Sir Gary Verity, the tourism agency’s chief executive, hailed the achievements of businesses and attractions that had contributed towards a “tremendous” year for a crucial sector of the region’s economy.
An analysis by Sheffield Hallam University earlier this year found that the value of Yorkshire tourism had grown by 14 per cent since 2011, taking its economic worth to £8bn a year - a £1bn in just seven years.
It also showed that the county’s tourism and hospitality industry now employs almost a quarter of a million people.
Many of the leading attractions and businesses behind the success of at least the last 12 months were celebrated at yesterday’s grand awards evening at Harrogate Convention Centre.
Some 17 awards were presented in recognition of tourism excellence in arts and culture, events and attractions, accommodation, and food and drink.
Stars from Emmerdale and Great British Bake Off, Leeds’ World Champion boxer Josh Warrington and record-breaking racehorse trainer Mark Johnston were among more than 1,000 guests who were treated to performances from Mercury nominee and Penistone-born folk singer Kate Rusby, the Yorkshire Regiment, Queen Margaret’s Performing Arts Choir and Huddersfield dance troop Scandalous Productions.
They also saw the national football team’s manager Gareth Southgate receive his ‘Honorary Yorkshireman’ award. The title has been bestowed on Southgate in recognition of not just his impressive achievements this summer when he led England to the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup in Russia, but for his dedication to Yorkshire which has now been his home for almost 20 years.
Commenting on the event and the success of tourism in Yorkshire, host Sir Gary said: “Every single winner and finalist this evening deserves huge congratulations, they are all stars of Yorkshire and the UK’s tourism industry and should be incredibly proud of their achievements.
“Yorkshire has some of the best food and drink, accommodation, arts and attractions in the world thanks to the fantastic effort of our members and I hope they are as proud as we are of everything we achieve together to keep our county a number one visitor destination.”
Professor Colin Mellors, chairman of the awards’ independent panel of judges, declared that it had been “another tremendous year for Yorkshire tourism”.
“The sector makes a vital contribution to the region’s economy and its reputation and the White Rose Awards are our annual opportunity to recognise and celebrate the very best of Yorkshire hospitality,” Prof Mellors said.
“This year’s winners include both established favourites who continue to work hard to achieve even higher levels of excellence, alongside newer businesses that are adding to the richness and variety of what Yorkshire can offer to its growing number of visitors.
“The term ‘world class’ is often over-used, but Yorkshire’s tourism is one sector where the description is entirely justified.”
WHITE ROASE AWARDS WINNERS IN FULL
ARTS & CULTURE AWARD
Highly commended: Phoenix Dance Theatre, Leeds; Settle Victoria Hall.
BUSINESS TOURISM AWARD
Yorkshire Event Centre, Harrogate.
HOLIDAY PARK OF THE YEAR
Vale of Pickering Caravan Park.
Highly commended: Swaledale Yurts, Keld.
GUEST ACCOMMODATION OF YEAR
Cambridge House, Reeth.
Highly commended: Eighteen97, Goathland.
INNS & RESTAURANTS WITH ROOMS
Estbek House, Sandsend.
LARGE ATTRACTION OF THE YEAR
Cannon Hall Farm, Barnsley.
Highly commended: Eureka! The National Children’s Museum, Halifax.
LARGE HOTEL OF THE YEAR
The Devonshire Arms Hotel & Spa, Bolton Abbey.
Highly commended: Gisborough Hall Hotel, Guisborough
OUTSTANDING CUSTOMER SERVICE AWARD
Team York Maze.
Highly commended: The Ellerby Country Inn.
PRODUCERS AND MAKERS AWARD
Tipple Tails, Sheffield.
Highly commended: Haxby Bakehouse
PUB OF THE YEAR
The Dunkirk, Denby Dale.
Highly commended: The Railway Inn, New Ellerby.
RESTAURANT OF THE YEAR
Broadgate Farm Cottages, Beverley.
Highly commended: Grand Get-Togethers, Sherburn
SMALL ATTRACTION OF THE YEAR
Grimm & Co, Rotherham.
Highly commended: Middleton Railway Trust, Leeds.
SMALL HOTEL OF THE YEAR
Brocco on the Park, Sheffield.
Highly commended: Beck Hall, Malham.
TASTE OF YORKSHIRE AWARD
Yummy Yorkshire, Denby Dale
Highly commended: Bert’s Barrow, Hillam
TOURISM EVENT OF THE YEAR
Bradford Literature Festival
VISITOR INFORMATION AWARD
Aysgarth Falls Tourist Information Centre.