Visit County Durham, working in association with The Northern Echo, is seeking to showcase the best in customer service offered to visitors to the county with the 5th annual Durham Tourism Superstar initiative.
The award will recognise the dedication and passion of those working in Durham’s tourism industry, and will be awarded to an individual who goes above and beyond the call of duty to ensure visitors to Durham have a priceless experience.
The first Durham Tourism Superstar was announced in July 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 the winner of VisitEngland’s national Tourism Superstar 2015 award which was supported by the Daily Mirror. The winner of the Durham award 2015 Lillian Groves (Senior Guide at Durham Cathedral) once again went forward for consideration to the national awards and was also crowned the winner of VisitEngland’s national Tourism Superstar 2016.
2016’s Durham Tourism Superstar winner Alan Anderson from Auckland Castle and Richard Darlington from Hall Hill Farm (2017) both went on to be national finalists in the national VisitEngland’s Superstar award. 2017's winner, Richard Darlington from Hall Hill Farm made it to the national Tourism Superstar 2018 finals in association with VisitEngland and The Daily Mirror.
Emily Hope from Beamish Museum has been announced as the 2018 Durham Tourism Superstar by Visit County Durham.
The results of the public vote were revealed as part of Visit County Durham’s annual Summer Garden Party celebrations at Beamish Hall Hotel.
Project Officer Emily, a member of the entrance development team at Beamish – The Living Museum of the North, is responsible for making sure that the 764,000 annual visitors enjoy an exceptional experience from the moment they arrive into the world famous open air museum.
The Tourism Superstar winner also volunteers as an Alzheimer’s Society champion, training more than 100 staff, volunteers and members of the community to become ‘Dementia Friends’, making a real difference to visitors living with dementia, supporting the museum’s commitment to health and wellbeing at work.
Emily adds: “I’m incredibly honoured and genuinely humbled to be crowned Durham Tourism Superstar. There’s nothing I love more than putting on my costume and I take great satisfaction in being able to share my knowledge to enhance visitors’ experience.”
Ivor Stolliday, chairman of Visit County Durham, said: “The competition is a wonderful way to recognise those individuals working tirelessly in the tourism industry. All of the finalists are incredible and each act as ambassadors for our county, we should all be extremely proud of them. It’s a privilege to crown Emily as Durham’s Tourism Superstar 2018”.
Michelle Gorman, managing director of Visit County Durham, said: “We congratulate Emily on winning this award. Emily embodies the shining star qualities that make her a worthy winner of Durham Tourism Superstar and truly enhances the visitor experience. It’s people like Emily who really make Durham shine”.
Emily is the latest member of the Beamish visitor experience team to be recognised for her outstanding contributions to customer service. She follows in the footsteps of colleague Matthew Henderson, who won both Durham Tourism Superstar and VisitEngland Tourism Superstar awards in 2015.
Emily will now be nominated by Visit County Durham for the national Tourism Superstar 2019 shortlist, organised by VisitEngland.