Sage Gateshead double gold success at North East England Tourism Awards
Sage Gateshead scooped two Golds at the North East England Tourism Awards at a virtual event this week (THURS 23 APRIL).
The quality and diversity of the tourism industry were celebrated as the region came together to support the industry in these challenging times.
During the online event, judges for each category outlined the strengths of the winning applications. At a difficult time for the industry, businesses from across the region were celebrated for their amazing contribution to the North East tourism offer.
Sage Gateshead was a double winner, scooping the top accolade in the Accessible and Inclusive Tourism category and Business Events Venue of the Year. The international music centre also picked up bronze in the Ethical, Responsible and Sustainable award category.
Abigail Pogson, Managing Director at Sage Gateshead, said: “We are over the moon at winning two golds in categories that mean so much to us. Sage Gateshead is for everyone, providing quality music experiences and events for people of all ages, abilities and walks of life. We can’t wait to open our doors and welcome everyone back in when the world is safe and well again.
“We would like to thank NEETA for organising the virtual event, which meant all our staff could attend and celebrate our success. It no doubt gave businesses a much-needed lift in these difficult times.”
Leanne Nicholson, of Mott MacDonald and judge for the Accessible and Inclusive Tourism category, said: “The judges and I were really blown away by this excellent centre, that was purpose built with accessibility in mind.
“The staff we met on the day were truly inspirational with their in-depth knowledge that showcased a huge commitment to accessibility and inclusivity throughout.
“Sage Gateshead is in our opinion an excellent example of a cultural venue. Their proactive approach to continually improve their accessibility programme is fantastic. Sage Gateshead truly is a fantastic asset to the area. Well done.”
The judging panel for Business Events Venue of the Year said: “The Conference and Events team at Sage Gateshead demonstrated a real passion for delivering for the customer and there was a strong demonstration of creative delivery solutions for a wide range of clients.
“The building also provides a unique backdrop to any event, while the recent investment in AV has improved the offer and added a quirky breakout option with the inclusion of silent disco headphones. The food offer is excellent and makes great use of local produce, showcasing many local suppliers. A strong commitment to reducing the carbon footprint of the building and conference and events offer was also evident.”
Sarah Green, Chief Executive at NewcastleGateshead Initiative, who organise the awards, said: “A huge congratulations to this year’s winners and all those who continue to contribute so much to the North East tourism sector. Covid-19 is having a devastating impact on the sector but these awards demonstrate the quality of the North East tourism offer and give us confidence that once the current situation eases the region will be in a strong place to benefit from a predicted upturn in domestic and day tourism.
“Along with our colleagues in tourism organisations across the North East, we will continue to invest in marketing, with a strong digital and media presence, to ensure that tourists are aware of our fantastic region and have us front of mind when planning for future visits.”
The North East England Tourism Awards were once again sponsored by Newcastle College and Bidfood.
The format of the awards was tweaked this year so that they now align more closely with the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence and reflect innovations across the industry. Eligible winners of the North East England Tourism Awards will be automatically put forward to the national VisitEngland Awards for Excellence 2020.
Each of the shortlisted businesses went through a thorough judging process, focused on experiencing their offer first-hand. As well as being evaluated by a judging panel made up of industry experts, planned visits by judges or ‘mystery shoppers’ helped to inform the final decisions.
NewcastleGateshead Initiative has worked alongside Northern Tourism Alliance members and other partners to deliver the awards in 2020. The Northern Tourism Alliance is a collaboration of the region’s tourism bodies who work together on projects that will benefit the tourism industry across the region. The North East England Tourism Awards are supported by Northumberland Tourism, Northumberland County Council, Visit County Durham, South Tyneside Council and North Tyneside Council.