YORK’S thriving tourism industry was celebrated last night as 16 businesses within the sector took home titles from this year’s Visit York Tourism Awards.

Winners were announced at a black tie awards ceremony, held in the Grand Station Hall of the National Railway Museum, with an audience of more than 400 people.

Two new categories were introduced this year with the National Railway Museum scooping the title of Best Wedding Venue and York Cycling Tours being named Best Guided Tour.

The Tourism Champion crown was passed on from last year’s winner Will Zhuang to Ann Deller, who was recognised for her “outstanding contribution to tourism” and the many years of service she has given to the Association of Voluntary Guides.

Marking its 21st year last night, the Visit York Tourism Awards celebrate individuals and companies who welcome York’s 6.9 million visitors every year, and contribute to the city’s multi-million pound industry.

In two of the most hotly contested categories, No.21 York won B&B of the Year and Best Hotel went to Grays Court. The Restaurant of the Year title went to Hudson’s by Craig Atchinson at The Grand Hotel & Spa and The Balloon Tree Farmshop & Café won the award in the ‘Best Café or Tearoom’ category.

JORVIK Viking Centre and the York Army Museum both came out on top in the large and small attractions categories. Jewellery retailer Azendi was delighted to collect the award for the best shopping experience, while York Racecourse did the double, taking two titles on the night.

Sally Greenaway, head of Visit York, said: “The awards recognise the very best in our industry.

It has been brilliant to see more independent businesses taking part this year.

“We congratulate all of the winners and finalists for their commitment to ensuring York’s visitors have the very best experience here.”