NEWCASTLE has been named one of the most welcoming places in the UK. Travel website Booking.com listed Newcastle at number two on their 2023 list of the 10 most welcoming places in the UK, coming in just behind the winner Kirkwall, on the Orkney Islands in Scotland.
“They have all been identified based on the share of accommodation partners receiving a Traveller Review Award 2023 and provide even the most seasoned traveller with bucket list inspiration for their future trips,” a spokesperson for Booking.com said. The Traveller Review Awards are given out by Booking.com annually to recognise travel providers, their commitment to providing consistently excellent service and hospitality. The travel website gives out the awards based on more than 240 million verified customer reviews that are left on their website. Towns and cities on the list had to have at least 50 eligible accommodation providers to be considered. “Those recognised at a country level have a high proportion of awarded properties for the size of the town or city, enabling us to celebrate some more off the beaten track/smaller destinations,” a Booking.com spokesperson said.
One of the local businesses which received one of these Traveller Review Awards is Snooze Apartments, located at South Promenade, Newcastle. Newcastle resident Claire Dickinson, who owns and runs Snooze Apartments and Soak Seaweed Baths with her husband Dermot Devine, said she is happy to see Newcastle recognized in this way. “We’re really pleased that Newcastle has won this award and proud to be part of the accommodation and tourism offerings. We always try and make guests feel welcome and gauge their needs before arrival,” she said. “When they are here, we point out places and attractions we feel they may enjoy. Most businesses in the town will recommend each other in this way. This is obviously a winning formula as it’s been voted for by so many people who have stayed here.” “We’ve been in business 17 years and we like to pride ourselves on a homely welcome. We don’t offer a drop box arrival as we like to meet people in person and from that we can gauge what their individual requirements are and offer assistance as required,” Claire said. “Being a family run business and living on the premises we are always on hand. Running in conjunction with our sister company Soak Seaweed Baths and the vast array of good bars, restaurants and entertainment venues in the locale, we feel that we and the area have a lot to offer.” Local Mournes councillor Laura Devlin (SDLP) said she was pleased to see Newcastle make the list of most welcoming towns. “This is a great accolade, but it isn’t surprising. We talk about the Tourism NI Brand ‘Embrace a Giant Spirit’. How true is that for Newcastle (with) our array of eateries, accommodation, shops, and unique visitor experiences. “When you pop in for even a coffee locally, the welcome is second to none and that really stands out, especially in that international market. International tourists are often taken aback by the friendliness and warmth of welcome. “But it isn’t just those involved in hospitality, it’s also the wider public. It’s our stunning landscape, amazing people and unique visitor attractions and eateries that make a trip so memorable and we are already then seeing those repeat visitors,” Cllr Devlin said. “I am delighted to see this award and long may it last, as tourism is a key economic driver in our district and we must do all we can to build upon it.”