Bridlington’s tourism businesses held their own against the best in the region at the most competitive Remarkable East Yorkshire Tourism Awards ever last week.
Organised by Visit Hull and East Yorkshire, the REYTAs are the Oscars of the local tourism industry, rewarding the very best the region has to offer visitors.
This year’s awards took place at Bridlington Spa last Thursday with over 400 people turning up to the glittering ceremony.
A record number of businesses and attractions entered this year’s awards and organisers were left with the unenviable task of whittling that down to 71 finalists.
The of the biggest local winners on the evening was RSPB Bempton Cliffs which scooped the Remarkable Visitor Attraction award, beating off fierce competition from the likes of Burnby Hall and Gardens in Pocklington and the Yorkshire Wolds Way National Trail.
The judges said: “Situated on the top of the spectacular and dramatic cliffs at Bempton, this unique sea bird refuge and nesting site delights thousands of visitors annually.”
Keith Clarkson, senior site manager at RSPB Bempton Cliffs, said: “We’re absolutely delighted, it’s a fantastic recognition for all of the staff and volunteers who work so hard to make the Bempton experience so special.
“We know that a large number of our visitors help the economy of Bridlington by coming in and using the hotels and restaurants and we are just happy to continue to be a gateway for visitors coming to East Yorkshire.”
The seabird reserve was not Bempton’s only big winner on the night, High Barn Cottages, situated on the outskirts of the village, picked up the remarkable Self Catering Award.
Angela Foster, co-owner of High Barn Cottages, said: “We feel very pleased, it’s delightful to win.
“It’s great for Bridlington to pick up some REYTAs and it’s great for us and all the staff, it’s very motivating.
“We also won REYTAs in different categories in 2010, 2012 and in 2013.”
Two Skipsea businesses celebrated a successful night at the REYTAs too picking up awards in the B&B and Fayre categories.
Chysta Newman, owner of Village Farm Bed and Breakfast in Skipsea, said: “We’re chuffed to have won the B&B award. Me and my husband Tony moved up from London three-and-a-half years ago and just wanted to do something different.
“I had always wanted to do something in catering since I was at school and thought I should do it now before it’s too late.
“There are so many good B&Bs in the area, but I think this award will certainly help us stand out from the crowd. We also run a tea rooms at the weekends and on bank holidays between Easter and September.”
Staff at Mr Moo’s in Skipsea were over the moon to win the Remarkable Fayre Award after narrowly missing out on an award in 2011 and 2012.
Judith Foreman, partner in Mr Moo’s, said: “It’s absolutely fantastic, brilliant, winning it was like Christmas.
“The REYTAs flag you up as a business. We are in all the seaside shops from Kilnsea to Saltburn, so we have truly become a Yorkshire coast brand. This award can only help us.” Bridlington Spa was highly commended in the Business Tourism category, just missing out to the KC Stadium in Hull.
Bridlington’s large representation at the ceremony can only be good news to the many businesses in the town who rely on a vibrant tourism industry.
Lincoln House, Carlton Apartments, The Vanilla Ice Cream Parlour and Gallery 49, selected in the Remarkable B&B, Self Catering, Cuppa and Visitor Attraction categories can all consider it a success just being shortlisted this year given the huge number of attractions that originally applied.
Jane Evison, cabinet portfolio holder for economy, investment and inequalities at East Riding of Yorkshire Council, said: “The Remarkable East Riding of Yorkshire Tourism Awards is one of the most eagerly anticipated events of the calendar locally and last night’s event certainly didn’t disappoint.
“Tourism plays a vital role in our local economy, bringing visitor spend to the area and providing employment for thousands of people and I would like to commend all the finalists whose hard work and commitment highlight the high calibre of our area’s tourism offer, and congratulate the category winners who can take great pride in their award and coveted title.”
Andy Grey, VHEY tourism manager, added; “The response to the REYTAs this year has been nothing short of amazing. Entries are up 30 per cent year on year, but it’s not just that – the quality of entries has blown us away.
“It’s not an exaggeration to say that all of the entrants would be worthy of winning a REYTA.”