England

Yorkshire wins Europe's Leading Destination award

Clockwise from top left: Kilnsey Crag, Harewood House, Betty's tea rooms, Aysgarth Falls, York Racecourse and Ilkley Moor
Image caption Yorkshire had taken its "rightful place" as a top European destination, said Welcome to Yorkshire chief executive Gary Verity

Yorkshire has beaten Berlin, London and Madrid to win the title of Europe's Leading Destination in 2013.

The prize was awarded at the World Travel Awards in Antalya, Turkey, which are described by organisers as the "Oscars of the travel industry".

Yorkshire is the first location other than a major city or country to have won the Leading Destination title in the 17-year history of the awards.

Tourism agency Welcome to Yorkshire said the award was a "major coup".

'Top destination'

The awards are intended to highlight and reward locations and travel brands considered to have made the greatest contribution to the tourism industry over the past twelve months.

Tourism is worth about £7bn annually to Yorkshire, with 216 million visits made to the county each year, said Welcome to Yorkshire.

The award comes less than a year after Yorkshire won the right to host the start of the Tour de France in July next year, with the race's Grand Depart taking place in Leeds.

Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, said the award was a "real validation" of the efforts put in by the county's tourism industry.

"It's fantastic to see Yorkshire taking its rightful place as one of the top holiday destinations in Europe," said Mr Verity.

Previous winners of the Leading European Destination award include Istanbul, Paris, London and Barcelona.

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