THE annual search has begun to find for the shining stars who sparkle in County Durham’s tourism firmament.

But whoever is crowned the Durham Tourism Superstar of 2019 has a tough act to follow – three of Durham’s winners in the last five years have gone on to be proclaimed as the national tourism superstar.

The competition is run by Visit County Durham in conjunction with The Northern Echo, and the winner will be an individual who shows passion and dedication and who goes the extra mile to ensure that visitors to the county have a memorable experience.

Michelle Gorman, Managing Director at Visit County Durham, said: “Following our hat-trick of national winners, we’re now looking for 2019’s Durham Tourism Superstar.

"The competition celebrates the incredible individuals who go above and beyond for the millions of tourists coming to the county each year, and I would urge all tourism businesses to put forward their shining stars who ensure visitors have a fantastic time when visiting Durham”.

Nominations for the 2019 award are now being sought, from which a panel of industry experts will draw up a shortlist. Last year’s shortlist included a hotel general manager, a professional photographer and a volunteer on a heritage railway.

The shortlist will then go to a public vote on The Northern Echo website, with the winner being announced at a garden party in July.

The 2019 winner will take over from last year’s superstar Emily Hope, of the Beamish Museum welcome team, who only last month was crowned the Tourism Superstar 2019 by VisitEngland.

Emily’s success followed on from 2014 superstar Matthew Henderson, who also worked at Beamish Museum, and 2015 champion Lillian Groves, a guide at Durham Cathedral. Durham’s 2016 superstar, Alan Anderson from Auckland Castle, and 2017’s Richard Darlington from Hall Hill Farm at Lanchester both made the national shortlist for the award, which is now in its sixth year.

The closing date for nominations is Friday, June 14. To nominate someone or to find more information, go to