Countdown to glory for tourism businesses as REYTA deadline looms

REYTA tourism awards 2019
Celebrating on the dance floor at the 2019 awards, held at the Bonus Arena in Hull.

Tourism businesses across Hull and East Yorkshire are being urged not to miss out on the chance to grab an industry “Oscar” and put themselves firmly in the spotlight.

The “go for glory” fanfare was sounded by Visit Hull and East Yorkshire’s acting tourism manager Will Hall with the deadline for this year’s Remarkable East Yorkshire Tourism Awards – the REYTAs – fast approaching.

The deadline to enter, which can be done free and online at www.visithullandeastyorkshire.com/reyta, is Monday 20th January, after which a shortlist of finalists will be drawn up. Already, entries are up compared to last year, thanks to a simplified entry process coupled with the fact that the awards can now be a route to national recognition.

“With less than two weeks to go we would hate anyone to miss out on what has become recognised as the best event of its kind in Yorkshire,” said Mr Hall.

“We have introduced new categories this year so that our awards mirror the national Visit England Awards for Excellence 2020 and eligible winners of a REYTA will be automatically put forward, which could see them judged the best in the country,” he said.

This year’s REYTAs boast 16 categories in total, including the one for the best pub in Hull and East Yorkshire, which is sponsored by the Hull Daily Mail.

New for 2020 are the Remarkable Accessible and Inclusive Tourism Award, which will recognise tourism businesses providing truly memorable visitor experiences for everyone, particularly those with accessibility requirements, and the Remarkable Ethical, Responsible and Sustainable Tourism Award, which recognises tourism businesses committed to being sustainable, responsible and ethical in how they operate and interact with customers, the wider community and the environment.

“We’ve been pleased to see a number of first-time entrants already and the thing we would stress is just how simple we have made it for anyone to enter. Everything about the criteria for a particular category is explained online and no longer is there a need to produce volumes of time-consuming written information for the judges; it’s a quick and simple step-by-step process to enter and we will be accepting entries right up to the deadline,” Mr Hall said.

In addition to the new categories, the REYTAs honour the very best, from major visitor attractions and events to hotels and accommodation providers, restaurants, pubs, cafes, food retailers and producers.

Judging will take place via independent panels and mystery shopping, ahead of the finals night, which this year returns to the Bridlington Spa on Thursday March 19. It promises to be a fantastic gala evening, with a three-course meal and after-dinner entertainment and during the evening all short-listed business will be showcased with their own video film produced for the evening by VHEY.

Current winners, including Kingfisher Lakes Glamping of Brandesburton (best self-catering accommodation), the Lion & Key in Hull (best pub), Vanessa’s Delicatessen in Beverley (best cuppa), the Toll Cottage in Cottingham (best bed and breakfast two years running), and Patrington Haven Leisure Park (best holiday park) have all stressed the value winning a REYTA brings to their business.

Toll Cottage
Bidding for a hat-trick this year, the team from Toll Cottage, winner of the Remarkable B&B award. From left: Phillipa Wilson, Gemma Derrick and Elaine Townend.

“Being judged remarkable, being judged the best, puts us in a special place. It gives people confidence to pick up the phone or send an email to make that booking. They want a guarantee they are going to enjoy the perfect stay and our status as award-winning accommodation is that guarantee,” said Elaine Townend, of Toll Cottage.

“I’ll be trying to make it three in a row – my entry’s already in. I’m really excited, the tie in with the Visit England awards is fantastic,” she said.

Guy Sparkes, of the family-owned Patrington Haven Leisure Park, supported that view. “We are an owner-only holiday park and winning a REYTA is something we’re really proud of. It’s all about the trust it gives someone looking to choose a site such as ours,” he said.

The full list of categories for the 2020 REYTAs are as follows:  

  1. Remarkable Accessible and Inclusive Tourism Award: Recognises tourism businesses providing truly memorable visitor experiences for everyone, particularly those with accessibility requirements, and demonstrating excellence across every aspect of the business.
  2. Remarkable B&B and Guest House of the Year: Recognises bed & breakfast and guest house businesses providing truly memorable guest experiences and demonstrating excellence across every aspect of the business
  3. Remarkable Business Events Venue of the Year: Open to any business that hosts business events and recognises venues that demonstrate an excellent understanding of the market, exceeding the expectations of their clients and have a strategic plan for future development within this area, with clear goals
  4. Remarkable Camping, Glamping and Holiday Park: Large or small, but providing truly memorable guest experiences and demonstrating excellence across every aspect of the business.
  5. Remarkable Cuppa: Recognises businesses within the tourism industry that offer food, beverage and service innovation and excellence.
  6. Remarkable Ethical, Responsible and Sustainable Tourism Award: Recognises tourism businesses committed to being sustainable, responsible and ethical in how they operate and interact with customers, the wider community and the environment.
  7. Remarkable Experience of the Year: Recognises providers of truly memorable and immersive activities for visitors to participate in.
  8. Remarkable Hotel of the Year: Recognises hotels and serviced accommodation businesses providing truly memorable guest experiences and demonstrating excellence across every aspect of the business.
  9. Remarkable Local Producer Award: Open to producers, processors or growers of local food and drink products, vineyards, breweries, farms and co-operatives.
  10. Remarkable New Tourism Business Award: Recognises new businesses demonstrating excellent understanding of their market, exceeding the expectations of their customers with clear plans for future development.
  11. Remarkable Pub of the Year: Pubs that make a significant contribution to tourism in their area, with a food and drink offering that includes quality locally sourced produce.
  12. Remarkable Restaurant: Open to food service businesses including restaurants, hotel restaurants, cafés, tea rooms, coffee shops, bistros etc. offering the option for table service.
  13. Remarkable Self Catering Accommodation of the Year: Businesses providing truly memorable guest experiences and demonstrating excellence across every aspect of the business.
  14. Remarkable Tourism Event: The best event or festival in Hull and East Yorkshire, providing a truly memorable experience to visitors to the area.
  15. Remarkable Visitor Attraction of the Year: Businesses providing truly memorable visitor experiences and demonstrating excellence across every aspect of the business.
  16. Remarkable East Yorkshire Passion Award: Someone selected by the Visit Hull & East Yorkshire Advisory Board Group who in their judgement has made a significant contribution to tourism in our region. Nominations are invited from the local tourism industry.

[Roy Woodcock – Visit Hull and East Yorkshire]