Tourism Awards offer a night of glittering prizes
MERSEYSIDE’S Annual Tourism Awards have emerged as the most sought-after prizes to be won by tourism and leisure businesses, an audience of the sector’s top people were told last night.
More than 500 guests were at St George’s Hall for this year’s ceremony when awards were handed out in 14 categories.
Organised by The Mersey Partnership, the agency’s acting chief executive Dave Moorcroft hailed the awards as the must-win accessory for businesses engaged in the £1bn-a-year sector.
Last year’s Open Golf Championship at Hoylake emerged as the best tourism experience, and the Big Art for Little Artists exhibition at the Walker Art Gallery as the large visitor attraction of the year.
The National Wildflower Centre at Huyton figured among the big prizes, capturing the gong for the small visitor attraction of the year. The centre won a second award as the Small Tourism Business of the Year.
Liverpool has seen amazing construction of new hotels, but it was the refurbished Holiday Inn in Lime Street that emerged as the Large Hotel of the Year, with Wirral’s Hillbark named as the Small Hotel of the Year.
Mr Moorcroft told guests at the black-tie dinner in Liverpool’s recently re-opened St George’s Hall: “Our tourism members represent businesses all over the Liverpool city region, and all of these are making an increasingly important and sizeable contribution to the sustainable growth of our regional economy.
“The significance of this success – much of which we will celebrate tonight – is well illustrated by the fact that our tourism sector now contributes more than £1bn a year to our economic fortunes.
“Significant new investments and developments also represent a new confidence in Liverpool and Merseyside, and it’s a confidence shared by investors and visitors alike.
“Interest in Liverpool and Merseyside has rarely been as intense as it is now. Every week representatives of the national and international media are arriving here to prepare articles and broadcasts about our destination as we welcome increasing numbers of visitors from across the world.”
Martin King, The Mersey Partnership’s director of tourism said: “Tonight we gather to celeb- rate the particular contribution made by the winners of the 2007 Annual Tourism Awards.
“And what better backdrop for our celebration than the two genuinely unique opportunities presented to us by Liverpool’s 800th birthday year and next year’s reign as European Capital of Culture?
“These landmark events will undoubtedly attract thousands upon thousands of extra visitors to our destination.”
Liverpool-born TV celebrity Tom O’Connor hosted the evening with assistance from BBC Radio Merseyside presenter Roger Phillips.
The awards are organised by The Mersey Partnership, the reg- ion’s official tourist board, and sponsored by Merseytravel in association with the Northwest Regional Development Agency, Liverpool John Lennon Airport and Liverpool Culture Company. The awards’ official media part- ner is the Liverpool Daily Post.
Peter Mearns, NWDA director of marketing and communic- ations, said: “Tourism is an important part of the regional economy, and tonight we celebrate some of the best of what Merseyside has to offer.”
Merseyside’s winners will go on to compete in the coveted Northwest Tourism Awards later in the year.
SEE Monday’s Daily Post for more coverage of the awards ceremony.