A LEADING hotelier in York has been crowned the nation's unsung hero.

VisitEngland has given the honour to Adam Wardale, of Middletons Hotel, in its prestigious awards for excellence 2022, celebrating the best of the country’s tourism industry.

Adam was one of 19 gold award winners announced at a ceremony, hosted by broadcaster and author Clare Balding in categories ranging from new tourism business to the ethical, responsible and sustainable tourism award.

York Press:

Gold, silver and bronze winners were selected from hundreds of tourism businesses across England including hotels, self-catering accommodation, B&Bs, glamping operators, attractions, restaurants, pubs and museums.

The Unsung Hero gold award went to Adam, 32, who has risen up the ranks from waiter to general manager within just six years, and has become a leading figure for the hospitality sector in York.

The award recognises an individual who excels in their role and deserves to be applauded for their work and commitment to the tourism industry.

Adam who was put forward for consideration after winning the unsung hero award at the Visit York Tourism Awards is credited with being instrumental in transforming the hotel into a luxury destination as well as driving key initiatives such as working with Askham Grange women’s prison to help prepare women ahead of their release.

Having recently been appointed as chair of the Hospitality Association York, Adam is on a mission to champion the industry as a career option among school leavers, graduates and people seeking a career change.

In his new role, he also wants to see hospitality better represented within government, and recently highlighted the plight of businesses in the sector who are struggling with the soaring costs of food and utilities on the back of the restrictions and closures, caused by Covid, and the ensuing staffing crisis.

Adam said it was damaging for the sector not to be better represented, and repeated calls for a minister for hospitality.

He said: “It was both an honour and a privilege to be nominated, yet alone to win, the prestigious Unsung Hero Award at both the Visit York and VisitEngland awards.

"On both a professional and personal level, I am incredibly proud to have been able to represent Middletons Hotel and York – a wonderful city that has such as diverse tourism offering.

"Over the past few years, the Middletons’ team has worked incredibly hard to develop the hotel and offer guests a first-class experience.

"We’re also extremely proud to be able to give back to the York community by forging strong partnerships with local institutions such as HMP Askham Grange women’s prison.

"This has always been a personal passion of mine and I’m determined that we will continue to support local schools, colleges and universities to promote and champion hospitality as a viable career.” 

Sarah Loftus, managing director at Make It York, said: “A huge congratulations to Adam for his well-deserved win at the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence!

"We’re incredibly grateful for all the hard work that Adam has put into our city and for always going above and beyond, both for our visitors and in our communities.

"A huge congratulations again to Adam and we’re so proud that he’s brought this national accolade home to York.” 

The awards for excellence, running for more than 30 years, celebrate and champion innovation, quality and best practice across the industry recognising businesses and individuals who raise the bar of England’s tourism offer.

Tourism minister Nigel Huddleston said: "Our superb tourism businesses offer something for everyone and the sector is one we can be proud of. It is fantastic to see so many hardworking businesses of all sizes recognised for their gold-standard contribution to English tourism and I congratulate all the winners."

VisitEngland advisory board chair Nick de Bois said: “These awards highlight the outstanding quality, the innovation and the customer service excellence across our industry. All these businesses are winners in every sense.

“Millions of jobs and local economies depend on tourism and this year’s awards also highlight the dedication of tourism businesses as they rebuild, championing best practice and providing visitors with first-class experiences.”

Tourism is one of England’s largest and most valuable industries, supporting hundreds of thousands of businesses, employing about 2.6 million people and, in 2019, generating £76 billion in domestic visitor spending.