Wetland centre strikes gold in local tourism ‘Oscars’

WWT Washington named Small Visitor Attraction of the Year at North East England Tourism Awards 2014.

Staff and volunteers at WWT Washington Wetland Centre are celebrating after scooping a major tourism award.

The centre was declared the region’s Small Visitor Attraction of the Year at last night’s North East England Tourism Awards 2014, held at Sunderland’s Stadium of Light, and now goes forward to the prestigious VisitEngland Awards for Excellence 2015 in May.

It is the fourth time in five years that WWT Washington has clinched the top industry accolade, winning gold in the same category in 2012, 2011 and 2009.

Centre manager Gill Pipes said: “To say that the team at WWT Washington is incredibly proud and thrilled to have won the Small Visitor Attraction of the Year gold award for 2014 is an understatement.

“The North East is home to a thriving and competitive tourism industry, so to be recognised as being up there with the best is a real honour and a reflection of all the hard work and commitment shown by our dedicated staff and volunteers.

“This has been a great year for us – our new Playscape play area opened, we received a £5,000 community award to restore lowland meadows on our reserve and Chilean flamingo eggs were laid here for the first time in seven years – and we have plans in place for more new developments in 2015.

“We’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who supports us – from visitors and WWT members, to volunteers and funders.  We simply couldn’t do what we do without your support.”

Whatever the season, come rain or shine, WWT Washington Wetland Centre is the perfect place to connect with nature.  Open 364 days a year, our award-winning, family-friendly site offers visitors of all ages a host of unforgettable wildlife encounters and beautiful scenery all year round

The North East England Tourism Awards are delivered by NewcastleGateshead Initiative on behalf of the Northern Tourism Alliance.  The Alliance is a collaboration of the region’s tourism bodies who work together on projects that will benefit the tourism industry across the region.  Members include NewcastleGateshead Initiative, Northumberland Tourism (representing Northumberland County Council), Visit County Durham, the North East Hotels Association and local authorities South Tyneside Council, North Tyneside Council and Sunderland City Council.

This year, 85 applications were submitted to the North East England Tourism Awards, with 52 making the shortlist; testament to the quality of experiences and services submitted from businesses working in all areas of the visitor economy. 

Winners at the regional awards now have the opportunity to compete nationally at VisitEngland’s Awards for Excellence 2015.

The North East England Tourism Awards were sponsored by the University of Sunderland and Northumbrian Water, and BBC Look North’s Carol Malia hosted the event for the third year running.

Find out more about WWT Washington.

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Sunderland is home of the National Glass Centre - the only UK centre celebrating the history of glass making and providing a world focus for glass. The centre reopened in 2013 after undergoing a major refurbishment.

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