FAIRIES, zombies and Van Gogh have all been recognised for helping to make York a magnet for tourists.

The finalists of the Visit York Tourism Awards are revealed today, with Woodlands Farm Thimbleby, York Maze Hallowscream and Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience among the contenders.

There are 17 titles to win at the ceremony on Thursday, April 23 in the National Railway Museum's Great Hall when the best of York’s businesses will go head to head.

Outstanding service, innovation and quality will be rewarded when the event shines a spotlight on excellence in York’s tourism sector.

Eligible winners across a number of categories will be automatically put forward to the national VisitEngland Awards for Excellence 2020 to compete for the crown of the country’s best.

New categories for 2020 include the International Tourism Award, celebrating businesses who create exceptional experiences for international visitors.

Also new is the Accessible and Inclusive Tourism Award which highlights businesses that provide the best experiences for visitors with accessibility requirements while Event of the Year rewards truly memorable and immersive activities.

Paul Whiting, head of marketing and communications at Make It York, said: “We are so proud of the vibrant and flourishing tourism sector in York, which welcomes 8.4 million visit to the city each year.

"There are so many organisations around the city working incredibly hard year round to deliver the highest quality visitor experiences - and these awards will reward those who are truly exceptional in their field.

"Good luck to all finalists – we all look forward to celebrating the successes at the ceremony in April. ”

David Horne, managing director of LNER, the headline sponsors, said: “We’re delighted to support Visit York’s annual tourism awards which really showcases the brilliant work that goes in the city to create amazing visitor experiences.

"York has so much to offer visitors and we’re proud to help so many people travel to the region each year. Congratulations to all the businesses who have been shortlisted.”

Bridget Meynell, chair of the judging panel, said: “It is an honour and a pleasure to be returning again as chair of the panel of judges. Each year, the competition has been fierce, and narrowing down the choices is always a challenge for the panel who give generously of their time to this process. York tourism businesses work so hard to make our beautiful city so welcoming and I congratulate all the entrants for their willingness to share their achievements and wish them all success in their sectors.”

Visit York Tourism Awards Finalists 2020

B&B and Guest House of the Year: No.21 York, Woodlands Farm Thimbleby

Business Events Venue of the Year: Novotel, The Grand, York, York Barbican, York Racecourse

Camping, Glamping and Holiday Park of the Year: Vale of Pickering Caravan Park, Wolds Edge Holiday Lodges, York Holiday & Cycle Stop

Experience of the Year: Castle Howard, The Bloody Tour of York, The Cookery School at The Grand, York, Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience

Event of the Year*: JORVIK Viking Festival, York Maze Hallowscream

Yrk Minster Northern Lights

International Tourism Award: OE Media, The Grand, York

Large Hotel of the Year: Grantley Hall, Hotel Indigo York, The Grand, York, The Principal Hotel

Large Visitor Attraction of the Year: Castle Howard, JORVIK Viking Centre, National Railway Museum

New Tourism Business of the Year: Grantley Hall, Northwood Trail, England’s Fairy Sanctuary, OE Media, Yorkshire Appetite Food Tours

Pub of the Year: House of Trembling Madness (Lendal), The Ackhorne, The Botanist York, The Drovers Arm Restaurant & Country Pub

Self Catering Accommodation of the Year: Serenity Inn the City, The Enchantment Chamber, Wolds Edge Holiday Lodges

Shop of the Year*: Bluebird Bakery, The Balloon Tree Farmshop & Café, The Shop That Must Not Be Named, York Gin

Small Hotel of the Year: Dean Court Hotel, Grays Court Hotel, The Parisi Hotel

Small Visitor Attraction of the Year: Barley Hall, Energi Trampoline Park, Locked in Games York, Mother Shipton’s Cave, York Army Museum

Taste of York Award: Plush Café, Roots York, The Star Inn The City, The Whippet Inn, The York Roast Co

Accessible & Inclusive Tourism Award: To be revealed at the awards ceremony

Tourism Champion of the Year: To be revealed at the awards ceremony

This award is in recognition of an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to York’s tourism industry. The winner will be revealed on the night.

Tickets for the event go on sale on Friday, February 7 at 9am.

*Visit York only. These categories are not eligible to go forward to the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence.