The countdown has begun in the search for the region’s Remarkable tourism businesses, with the launch of the 2016 Remarkable East Yorkshire Tourism Awards (the REYTAs) by Visit Hull and East Yorkshire.
Regarded as the tourism “Oscars”, the REYTAs honour the very best, from major visitor attractions and events to hotels and accommodation providers, restaurants, pubs, cafes, food retailers and producers.
Current winners include Hull’s Freedom Festival, judged to be the best large tourism event, Tickton Grange, near Beverley, named best hotel, and Sewerby Hall, near Bridlington, who picked up the award for best visitor attraction.
Now in their seventh year, the 2016 awards will be bigger and better than ever, featuring some new categories and culminating in a glittering awards ceremony at the The Spa in Bridlington next March.
For the winners there’s also the chance of national glory, too, as they will all be eligible for short listing through to the finals of the Visit England Excellence Awards.
The REYTAs are open to all tourism businesses in Hull and East Yorkshire, large and small, and is free to enter by visiting www.hullandeastyorkshire.com/reyta and then following the links to fill in a simple entry form.
Short listing in each category will take place after the closing date which is followed by mystery shopping ,where appropriate, to determine the winner.
The closing date is January 22, 2016, ahead of the finals night on March 17, 2016.
New categories unveiled include the Remarkable Taste of East Yorkshire, which is open to producers, processors and growers of local food and drink as well as farm shops and delis. The judges will be looking for commitment to using or producing high quality local produce alongside excellent customer care.
“Our winner will be a torch bearer for all that’s good about Hull and East Yorkshire and will be readily identifiable with the area,” said VHEY’s tourism manager Andy Gray. “Hull and East Yorkshire is proving itself to be one of the top choices for visitors from outside our region as well as offering fantastic choices for local people to enjoy all year round.”
Presented for the first time in 2016 will be the Remarkable Newcomer award for an individual or business set up between 1st January 2014 and 30th June 2015. “We want to recognise all of the new and fledgling tourism businesses that have recently started up in Hull & East Yorkshire and offer a new and exciting experience for our visitors,” said Mr Gray.
There’s also a new category for the best caravan/holiday park or village and finally, everyone who enters will be asked to nominate the person who they think has made the greatest contribution to tourism in the region.
Recognising the prestige and importance of the REYTAs, Councillor Jane Evison, cabinet portfolio holder for economic investment and tourism at East Riding of Yorkshire Council, said: “Now in its seventh year, the Remarkable East Yorkshire Tourism Awards (REYTAs) continues to be the highlight of the local tourism calendar. The awards celebrate the best of what our area has to offer both residents and visitors, from fantastic leisure facilities to excellent accommodation as well as fine dining and first-class events.
“The Visit Hull & East Yorkshire (VHEY) tourism partnership works with hundreds of local businesses and would encourage them to consider putting in an application for the REYTAs. The awards are highly-regarded within the tourism industry and recognise the quality of businesses and individuals and the contribution they make to our area’s visitor economy.”
Meanwhile, Councillor Steven Bayes, Portfolio Holder for Visitor Destination at Hull City Council, said: “The REYTA awards are a fantastic opportunity for the region to celebrate the vibrant and booming tourism offer across the region.
“Since the announcement of Hull as UK City of Culture 2017, we have already seen a boost in tourism with international visitors staying almost 400,000 nights in the city in 2014, adding £16m to the local economy.
“With just over 12 months until our year in the spotlight, we hope to see the value of tourism to the city, currently at £265m, continue to rise. Our ambition to become a world-class visitor destination is firmly in our sights and we are working really hard to ensure that come 2017, we are ready to open our doors to the world”.