TWO North-East tourism businesses have won accolades at the English tourism "Oscars."

Sunderland Airshow and Mill Granary Cottages, in Lower Teesdale, County Durham, both won gold awards at the national Enjoy England Awards for Excellence held at St George's Hall, in Liverpool, last night.

The awards showcase quality, performance and innovation in the tourism sector and recognise excellence in a number of tourism fields.

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Sunderland Airshow, the largest free airshow in Europe, won the Best Tourism Experience Award.

Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, judges praised the event's organisers for attracting more than a million visitors last year.

Sue Henderson, airshow deputy director, said: "This accolade is a real tribute, not only to its popularity as a visitor attraction for Sunderland, but to the hard work of organisers, participants, exhibitors and entertainers.

"The airshow has grown over the years from a one-day event to a whole weekend of attractions and has become a key date in not only the city's events calendar, but for the whole of the North-East."

Mill Granary Cottage in County Durham was a gold winner in the Self-Catering Holiday of the Year category.

The business, which has been operating for four years, is a converted stone-built granary cottage in Teesdale.

Kate Hodgson, of Mill Granary Cottages, said: "I am extremely proud of this award, which is fantastic recognition not only for us but also for North-East England. This award proves all our hard work has paid off."

Margaret Fay, of regional development agency One NorthEast, said: "This is fantastic recognition for the quality of the tourism businesses in the region, and demonstrates that here in North-East England we are among the best in the country."