SHARING A PASSION FOR EAST YORKSHIRE
FROM the gently rolling hills of the Wolds to the galleries and museums in Hull city centre, East Yorkshire has a lot to offer tourists.
Its thriving leisure industry has now been celebrated in the Remarkable East Yorkshire Tourism Awards (Reytas) – and civic leaders hope next year will be better still.
"You can spend as much time and money on pamphlets as you like," said councillor Terry Geraghty, Hull's portfolio holder for leisure and culture.
"But what draws people in is something to see, such as Da Vinci or Hockney."
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It has been a good year for the city.
More than £26m was raised through visitors to Hull last year.
As well as exhibitions at Ferens Art Gallery, which picked up an award for Remarkable Visitor Attraction at last week's ceremony, established events have played their part.
Thousands also visited the city for Hull Fair.
"Tourism is all about drawing people in," said Cllr Geraghty.
"I've been involved in tourism and sport for many years.
"What works is when you put things on."
Hull's ferry port is a key stop for European travellers and Cllr Geraghty believes the city must do its utmost to make them welcome.
He hopes the city can highlight its shipping heyday as another attraction in future.
"One thing to develop is the maritime theme, because we believe that's the heritage of this city," he said.
"It's been part and parcel of this city for 400, 500 or maybe even 600 years.
"Before the dock industry, the whaling industry was based here and back in Tudor times we were a capital for the Navy."
But the city is a centre for sport as well as culture.
This year, Hull plays host to the Rugby League World Cup.
When officials learned their bid was successful, they hailed its potential to attract visitors from across the world.
"This will put Hull on the international map and give it an international profile," said Jon Pywell, Hull City Council's assistant head of service of economic development and regeneration.
"It will attract hundreds of thousands of visitors and should help sustain and boost jobs."
There have been some disappointments as well.
East Yorkshire had been touted as a possible stop on the 2014 Tour De France.
But despite high hopes riders would race across the Wolds and Humber Bridge, the route will pass through Leeds, Harrogate and Sheffield instead.
Hull East MP Karl Turner had hoped the tour would bring visitors to the city.
At the time, he said he was "gutted" to hear it was not coming to the region.
"This would have been a perfect opportunity to showcase Hull and the beauty of the surrounding region," he said.
But Cllr Geraghty believes there is still plenty to attract visitors.
"We're looking at quite a lot more events this year," he said.
He pointed to an ongoing exhibition of regional artists at Ferens Art Gallery as proof Hull was developing its own distinctive cultural scene.
It features work from hundreds of people.
"We've got an exhibition of 750 artists," Cllr Geraghty said. "It just shows you the wealth of talent in this area and that's what we're trying to bring out."
That talent also extends to tourism businesses.
The winners at last week's Reytas came from across East Yorkshire.
They included businesses large and small.
But one thing every company had in common was a passion for the area and a delight in its produce.
At Remarkable Pub winner The Goodmanham Arms, landlord Vito Logozzi and his wife, Abbie, brew their own beers.
"Our barley is sourced from the East Yorkshire coastal area, simply because here we grow the best barley in the world for beer making," Abbie said.
"All our ingredients are especially sourced for quality."
That commitment to quality is echoed by all the winners.
Staal Smokehouse, winner of the Remarkable Fayre awards, smokes line-caught trout from a farm three miles down the road.
Tickton Grange won Remarkable Restaurant for its focus on bringing out the best in East Riding produce.
Head chef David Nowell said: "This feels like confirmation we're doing the right thing.
"To get such overwhelming support from the region is very humbling."