South Tyneside Council is celebrating after scooping a tourism award for its exciting free Summer Festival of live music, entertainment and activities.
The annual three-month event secured a silver award in the Best Tourism Event category of the North East England Tourism Awards in a glittering ceremony held at Sunderland's Stadium of Light this week.
The awards celebrate and congratulate the exceptional contribution tourism makes to the region's economy.
Councillor Alan Kerr, Deputy Leader of South Tyneside Council with responsibility for Culture and Leisure, said: "We are thrilled that our Summer Festival has received such a prestigious award. To be recognised for the quality of experience we provide is a huge achievement.
"The festival is a very important feature of our annual events programme. It attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors to our beautiful coastline every year and is a major boost for tourism which is worth more than £200m to South Tyneside.
"We are extremely proud of our event. It has grown to become one of the biggest and best free festivals in the country and is packed with live music, family-friendly entertainment and activities for all ages to enjoy.
"The award is testament to the dedicated team of people who pull the festival events programme together and have worked really hard to make it the success it is today. Well done to them all."
Key features of the South Tyneside Summer Festival and seafront entertainment include a vibrant parade through the streets of South Shields, an action-packed family fun day, children's entertainment, live music in the Amphitheatre, brass bands, proms in South Marine Park and the well known free open-air Sunday concerts, which has seen scores of household names perform to thousands of spectators in Bents Park.
The North East England Tourism Awards are organised on behalf of the Northern Tourism Alliance by destination management and marketing organisation, NewcastleGateshead Initiative.
The Northern Tourism Alliance is a collaboration of the region's tourism bodies which 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.
The tourism industry is an important part of the economy of North East England employing more than 55,000 people with an additional 500 jobs created over the last 12 months. It is worth an estimated £3.6bn to the economy of North East England.
Chief Executive, Sarah Stewart, said: "2014 has been another stand-out year for Tourism in the North East; the latest figures show the number of overseas visitors to the region is at its highest since 2008, seeing a 25% increase in the first six months of 2014.
"This growth is testament to the vibrancy and breadth of what the region has to offer visitors - from cultural city-breaks to family holidays by the sea - we're home to two World Heritage Sites, world-class museums and galleries, breathtaking countryside and dramatic coastline.
"My congratulations to the winners, their commitment to excellence ensures the industry continues to go from strength-to-strength."