Durham Tourism Superstar

The Durham Tourism Superstar initiative, run in conjunction with the Northern Echo and now in its 5th year, recognises the people working in the county’s tourism industry who go above and beyond to ensure visitors have an incredible experience.

The first Durham Tourism Superstar was announced in 2014 at Visit County Durham’s annual garden party, and the winner, Matthew Henderson (Engagement & Participation Assistant at Beamish Museum) went on to be crowned VisitEngland’s national Tourism Superstar.  The 2015 Durham Tourism Superstar, Lillian Groves (Senior Guide at Durham Cathedral), also received the national accolade. And Emily Hope, the county’s reigning Durham Tourism Superstar, has just been announced as VisitEngland’s national Tourism Superstar for 2019. Durham’s hat-trick of national success showcases how incredible Durham’s visitor welcome truly is. 
2016’s Durham Tourism Superstar winner Alan Anderson from Auckland Castle, and Richard Darlington from Hall Hill Farm (2017) both made the shortlist for VisitEngland’s national Superstar award. 

To recognise that some of the superstars that make a visit memorable may have four legs rather than two, animals (with an appropriate handler) can now be entered into the competition and be in with a chance of being named Durham Tourism Superstar 2019.

A selection of some fo the previous Durham Tourism Superstar Winner

Durham Tourism Superstars: (From left to right) Matthew Henderson, Richard Darlington, Lilian Groves, Alan Anderson, Emily Hope​



We are asking for nominations for people working in any part of the visitor economy, who are able to represent their profession.  So, if they work for a hotel or a visitor attraction that’s fine, but they must be knowledgeable and passionate about the destination where their place of work is located. 


Durham’s Tourism Superstar 2019 must:

  • Work for a tourism business or organisation in Durham
  • Must represent Durham – be knowledgeable and passionate about the destination and happy to talk about the destination outside of their work remit
  • Go above and beyond the call of duty to make an experience to remember for visitors
  • Be aware that they have been nominated and happy to participate in any related PR and media opportunities during or post the announcement of the winner
  • Be available and willing for their image to be used for publicity by Visit County Durham and The Northern Echo
  • Be willing to take part in publicity for VisitEngland’s national awards should they be shortlisted. 



Durham Tourism Superstar 2019 launch



April 2019


Closing date for nominations



 Friday 14th June 2019 


Shortlist announced



Week commencing Monday 17th June until Friday 12th July 2019


Online voting open on The Northern Echo website



Week commencing Monday 17th June 2019 until Friday 12th July 2019


Winner announced at VCD Garden Party



TBC July 2019


Why should I nominate?

By simply taking part the awards process can deliver significant benefits to applicants, finalists and winners and to the businesses they represent. 

Employee motivation – A positive opportunity to recognise and reward the hard work and achievements of your employees – a boost to staff morale and motivation as it acknowledges their contribution to your business success.  Increase team pride.

Publicity – Winning can generate significant amounts of publicity and this can have a direct impact on your business.  Just being shortlisted can improve awareness and put your company in the shop window.  You have the opportunity to gain extensive media attention and valuable publicity (local, regional and possibly national) as the awards will be talked about in the press, social media and internet coverage.

A sign of quality - A great way of differentiating your company from competitors and send out positive signals to customers highlighting a commitment to excellence and quality standards

An assessment tool – Entering an award is a valuable opportunity to properly appraise your business – the research process can help you think about ways you could be doing things better.


Do you know someone who has what it takes to join the Durham Tourism Superstar line up?

Do you know someone who has what it takes to join the Durham Tourism Superstar line up?


Tips for completing the nomination form

When completing the nomination form, remember the judges will be looking at many other nominations so make sure yours stands out from the rest!  Here are some tips to help you improve your chances of putting together a great application and winning.

  • Don’t be shy; shout about how your nominee excels. How do they go above and beyond the call of duty to make an experience to remember for visitors?  What really sets them apart from the competition?
  • Provide examples of how the nominee has had an effect on the business and its visitors – are there comments from visitors? Do visitors ask for them? Are there events which demonstrate their excellence?  Has the nominee achieved positive results and if so what are they?
  • Remember, the award is for the impact that the nominee has on visitors and not the business in general. The award is for the individual, not the business as a whole.
  • If referring to a particular event, campaign, project or activity, show how the nominee contributed directly to its success
  • Specify any training undertaken, awards received or practical examples of how the nominee has improved the experience of visitors
  • Include the little things that your nominee does that make a difference
  • Remember, the award is for the individual, not the business as a whole
  • Keep the information recent, what have they achieved in the last couple of years
  • Please note that by entering the awards, nominees agree to be part of the publicity if selected as a finalist / winner.  The winner must be comfortable being in the spotlight.

Frequently asked questions

  • Who can nominate?  Nominations can be submitted by managers and business owners nominating their employees, or individuals wishing to recognise their colleague’s efforts.
  • How do I nominate someone?  Submit your nomination by completing a nomination submission form which can be downloaded from www.visitcountydurham.org/durham-tourism-superstar 
  • Is there a limit on how many entries we can submit?  No, businesses are encouraged to submit as many entries as they like.  Please note that you will need to complete separate entries for each nominee.
  • Can I nominate a team or group of people? No, Durham Tourism Superstar is awarded to an individual who goes above and beyond the call of duty.
  • What is the deadline for entries?  The deadline for entries is Friday 14th June 2019 at 23.59pm
  • How will the nominations be judged / shortlisted?  A panel of judges will decide a shortlist of 10 finalists based on evaluation of the written applications.  The panel will comprise of industry representatives.  A winner will be then be selected by an online public vote hosted on the Northern Echo website.




And submit your completed nomination form to:

Email: lucy.wearne@visitcountydurham.org

Post: Durham Tourism Superstar, Visit County Durham, 2nd Floor, County Hall, Dryburn Road, Durham, DH1 5UL


If you have any queries relating to Durham Tourism Superstar please contact Lucy Wearne lucy.wearne@visitcountydurham.org or by telephone on 03000 261225


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