Northumberland National Park Authority is in the running for two awards at the forthcoming North East England Tourism Awards 2024.

This prestigious event has long been an indicator of the most dynamic and original attractions and businesses in the region, reflecting its vibrant tourism economy.

Northumberland National Park Authority's nominations are for ‘Accessible and Inclusive Tourism’ and ‘Unsung Hero’. The latter recognises those individuals who have extended remarkable contributions to regional tourism.

Duncan Wise, Visitor Development Officer of the Northumberland National Park Authority, who's held the role for 23 years, is named for this honour.

Duncan is known for his delicate balancing act of enticing visitors to explore Northumberland National Park's unique qualities, whilst also protecting its fragile ecosystems.

Duncan Wise's crowning achievement is being instrumental in creating the largest Dark Sky Park in Europe in alliance with Kielder Forest Park.

The Dark Sky status of Northumberland has not only generated over £25 million for the local economy, but also lengthened the tourism season, inviting international tourists.

The Authority has also committed resources into creating various accessible and inclusive opportunities for people to interact with the National Park.

This initiative includes updating visitor facilities, developing new learning and engagement schemes.

Innovations like audio-visual interpretation, interactive exhibitions and sensory experiences have made the history and natural wonders of the National Park accessible to a wider public.

The National Park Authority has also improved disabled access to key visitor sites and leads in online accessibility through its fully accessible website.

Rosie Thomas, Director of Business Development at Northumberland National Park Authority, said: “We are honoured to be recognised through these nominations, which not only reward the incredible work of our staff, such as Duncan, volunteers, and partners, but also acknowledge the valuable contribution Northumberland National Park Authority makes to tourism in the North East.

"The nominations reflect our commitment to ensuring Northumberland National Park is a welcoming place for all.”

The North East Tourism Awards ceremony will be held in Spring 2024.

Many winners will then go on to represent the region at the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence.