Northumberland has finally won the title of best UK holiday county to visit in the British Travel Awards.
After finishing runner-up to Cornwall for four years in a row, The Secret Kingdom has at last landed GOLD, in tonight's (Wednesday) Gala Awards Night in London.
Competition was fierce this year with Northumberland up against nine other regions including Cornwall, Peak District, Scottish Highlands, Cumbria and The Lake District. After coming so close to winning in recent years, Northumberland Tourism and Northumberland County Council ran a joint campaign via social media encouraging people to vote for the most northerly county in England.
British Travel Awards’ chief executive Lorraine Barnes Burton said: “Northumberland is to be congratulated on winning Best UK Holiday County/Destination. The British Travel Awards are the only travel industry accolade voted for exclusively by the consumer and the Awards serve to recognise all that is great about travel, as experienced by the travelling public. To win a British Travel Award is a true achievement.”
Jude Leitch, director of Northumberland Tourism, said: “Tourism is vitally important to Northumberland, both in terms of employment and economic growth. Winning Gold is great recognition of the hard work and dedication of everyone involved in the industry across the county”.
Coun Cath Homer, cabinet member for culture, arts, leisure and tourism at Northumberland County Council, said: “This award is made all the more rewarding as it is the only travel industry accolade which is voted exclusively by the consumer. This is a really exciting time for Northumberland and this award will help us show potential visitors from across the UK and further afield just what we have to offer.
“It has taken a lot of hard work and effort by everyone in the industry to get to where we are today and we need to continue to work together to prove why this award is so well deserved.”
Coun Homer tonight tweeted: 'We only went and did it! NORTHUMBERLAND winners of Best UK Holiday County @ the British Travel Awards 2018!'
While Ann Bridges, head of communications at the county council, tweeted: 'BREAKING NEWS: It’s official #NORTHUMBERLAND is the best UK holiday county!
On Instagram, Visit Northumberland posted: 'DRUM ROLL PLEASE! Northumberland gets GOLD in the 2018 British Travel Awards. We're officially the BEST destination. Huge thank you to everyone who voted, we couldn't have done it without your #northumberlandspirit.'
The event is the largest travel-awards programme in the UK. Travel and tourism organisations consider success in the British Travel Awards as the highest of all travel accolades because it’s the visitor that determines the winner in a public vote.
Tourism is a key economic driver for Northumberland making up 11.8% of the county’s economy and contributing £665million. In 2017, the county welcomed more than 10million visitors an increase of 6% on 2016.