Hull and East Yorkshire’s very own tourism “Oscars” culminated in a triumphant and glittering awards evening attended in Hull last night.
There were record entries for this year’s Remarkable East Yorkshire Tourism Awards (REYTAs), the sixth year running they have been organised by Visit Hull and East Yorkshire (VHEY).
Among the East Yorkshire winners were Wold Top Brewery, Sewerby Hall and Gardens and Beverley Tickton Grange in their respected categories who have been rewarded for their efforts.
And tickets for last night’s black tie dinner, hosted by BBC Look North’s Kate Sweeting and Radio Humberside presenter Phil White, were in such demand there was a waiting list.
Andy Gray, VHEY’s tourism manager, described it as “a remarkable event to celebrate a remarkable industry which contributes over £757 million annually to the Hull and East Yorkshire economy and provides employment for over 15,000 people.”
There were 68 finalists competing in last night’s categories, which recognise the best individuals, attractions and hospitality businesses in the area’s tourism industry.
Winners were presented with unique awards created by ceramics students at Hull College.
“We have over 1,800 businesses who operate within the visitor economy in Hull and East Yorkshire and the quality of entries to the awards this year has been incredible,” said Mr Gray. “These awards allow us to showcase all that is remarkable about tourism in Hull and East Yorkshire and we certainly have plenty to celebrate. The bar has definitely been raised.”
Tourism body VHEY, which is jointly funded by Hull City Council and East Riding of Yorkshire Council, launched the REYTAs in 2009 and they have gone on to be regarded as one of the most prestigious events in the industry. They are now also aligned to the Visit England awards, giving REYTA winners the chance of national honours.
During the evening, Hull City Council’s tourism manager Anthony Yates revealed that VHEY will shortly be launching a new, three-year, tourism strategy aimed at driving tourism revenues to record-breaking levels. “Exciting times are ahead,” he said. “Our target is to generate an additional two million visitors into Hull and East Yorkshire and increase the visitor economy by a further £200 million by 2018.
“To deliver this we are planning to deliver packages, themed itineraries, welcome packs and a new visitor ‘passport’ - just for starters.”
Guest of honour at last night’s dinner was Martin Green, chief executive of Hull City of Culture 2017.
The REYTAs are self-funding thanks to ticket sales and the support of sponsors. Sponsors include St Stephen’s shopping centre, Strawberry, Classlane Media, Wykeland, The Deep, Mail News & Media, the Local Enterprise Partnership, Gosschalks, Laurel Vines, East Yorkshire Local Food Network and Tiger Events.
Councillor Jane Evison, cabinet portfolio holder for economy, investment and inequalities at East Riding of Yorkshire Council, said: “The Remarkable East Yorkshire Tourism Awards (REYTAs) is one of the most eagerly anticipated events on the calendar and last night’s ceremony certainly lived up to the name.
“I would like to commend all our local tourism businesses that were shortlisted and to congratulate all of the category winners for securing such coveted awards. These businesses can take great pride in their achievement, which highlights their hard work and commitment to providing a high calibre tourism offer.
“The tourism sector plays a vital role in the East Riding economy, bringing millions of pounds of visitor spend to the area and supporting thousands of jobs. The REYTAs provides the perfect platform to celebrate the work of the industry, locally, and to promote the region to a wider audience.”
Remarkable Bed and Breakfast: The Wold Cottage, Wold Newton. Highly Commended: Dunedin Country House, Patrington
Remarkable Hotel Accommodation: Beverley Tickton Grange. Highly Commended: Village Urban Resort, Hull
Remarkable Food Producer: Wold Top Brewery, Hunmanby Grange
Remarkable Sustainable Tourism Award: Broadgate Farm Cottages, Walkington
Remarkable Visitor Attraction/Experience: Sewerby Hall and Gardens
Remarkable Food Provider: Hull Pie Ltd, Hull
Remarkable Self Catering Provider: Wolds Edge Holiday Lodges, Bishop Wilton
Remarkable Small Tourism Event: Beverley Puppet Festival
Remarkable Cuppa: Wolds Village, Bainton. Highly Commended: Vanessa’s Delicatessen and Cafe, Beverley.
Remarkable Conference and Meeting Venue: Mercure Grange Park Hotel, Willerby
Remarkable Pub: The Lion and Key, Hull
Remarkable Restaurant of the Year, 1884 Dock Street Kitchen, Hull
Remarkable Large Tourism Event: Freedom Festival, Hull
East Yorkshire Passion Award: Colin Brown, chief executive officer, The Deep, Hull