It’s one of the most eagerly-anticipated events of the year but sadly became one of the first major events postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Now, the excitement of the annual Hull and East Yorkshire tourism “Oscars” is being transferred online with a virtual awards ceremony.
The Remarkable East Yorkshire Tourism Awards, the REYTAs, go digital in a week’s time (Wednesday, 6 May), streaming live from the Visit Hull and East Yorkshire (VHEY) Facebook page – www.facebook.com/VisitHullandEastYorkshire – from 8pm. It can also be viewed via VHEY’s YouTube channel.
A total of 15 awards recognising the region’s best, brightest, most successful and innovative tourism businesses will be announced and the 78 businesses and attractions short-listed through to the finals will be showcased with the screening of specially-commissioned videos during the hour-long show.
Councillor Shaun Horton, the cabinet portfolio holder for tourism, culture and leisure at East Riding of Yorkshire Council, said it was “more important than ever during these challenging times to celebrate all that’s wonderful about Hull and East Yorkshire”.
He continued: “This is an opportunity to turn a spotlight on a huge range of successful businesses which, no doubt, can look forward to picking up plenty of new visitors eager to get out and about again in the hopefully not-too-distant future.”
Five hundred guests were due to attend this year’s glittering awards ceremony, originally scheduled to take place at Bridlington Spa on 19 March, but the event was postponed as the nation went into lockdown. Now, however, it’s hoped many more will join the celebrations planned online.
Councillor Horton said: “Hopefully the evening will provide an opportunity to put some smiles on faces and celebrate success and we invite everyone to join us and embrace the spirit of the occasion.
“All of the VHEY team will be dressed up in their party dresses and suits, with our hair and make-up done and our improvised remarkable meals on order. We hope you’ll dress up and join in, too, using video conferencing to watch with family, friends and colleagues.”
“There will even be a break to recharge your glasses part-way through and we’d love to see your pictures and clips of you enjoying the show,” said Councillor Horton.
VHEY will be posting updates on the Facebook event “Virtual Remarkable East Yorkshire Tourism Awards” in the lead up to the day. You can find out more about the awards and join in the discussion online using the hashtag #REYTA2020.
Councillor Dave Craker, the portfolio holder for tourism and leisure at Hull City Council, said: “The REYTAs are a fantastic annual celebration of our region’s tourism offer and, like all of us, I’m immensely disappointed that we are unable to come together to celebrate them in the usual fashion this year. However, I’m delighted that the awards are still taking place so that we can recognise some of our area’s finest businesses and attractions.”
He said success in next week’s finals is even more important as this year the REYTAs have aligned even more closely with VisitEngland and have used a shared application process. This means that in most of the REYTA categories, winners will automatically be entered into the national awards without any further application.
VisitEngland Director Andrew Stokes said the awards play a key role in the English tourism industry.
“They champion excellence and, importantly, raise the profile of the area,” said Andrew.
“As the tourism industry navigates these unprecedented times, it is important that the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence and its feeder competitions continue and recognise those businesses that deliver amazing experiences for visitors.”
The Virtual remarkable East Yorkshire Tourism Awards will be streamed live on the Visit Hull and East Yorkshire Facebook page – www.facebook.com/VisitHullandEastYorkshire – as well as VHEY’s YouTube channel from 8pm on Wednesday, 6 May.
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