Winners announced in the Manchester Tourism Awards

The Lowry Hotel took home the coveted 'Hotel of the Year' title, at the glittering awards ceremony held at the National Football Museum and sponsored by Aspire recruitment. The hotel stood out for its efforts in customer experience and quality assurance. The Place Aparthotel, located next to Piccadilly Station was meanwhile confirmed as the 'Serviced Apartments of the Year.'

The Lowry was named the 'Large Visitor Attraction of the Year' as the judges felt the arts venue had an exemplary overall application and was commended for its strong links with the local community.

BBC Tours at MediaCityUK was applauded for its impressive staff training programme and collected the 'Small Visitor Attraction' award.

The award for 'Business Tourism' went to The University of Manchester Conferences and Venues. Judges praised the organisation for its role in developing the international profile of the city through its significant portfolio of conference and event venues and for presenting clear evidence of sustainability and accessibility.

The 'Sustainable Tourism' award went to Novotel Manchester Centre which was noted for its purposeful dedication to the environment.

Manchester International Festival and the Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair were triumphant in the large and small 'Event of the Year' categories. 'Restaurant of the Year' went to the renowned Manchester House and 'Best Entertainment Venue of the Year' to The Met, in Bury.

The award for 'Tourism Retailer of the Year' went to Afflecks, noted as a USP for Manchester and committed to nurturing the growth of small businesses, complimented by excellent use of social media and the introduction of an online shop to target tourists.

The Wandering Duck Canal Boat Experience received the 'Tourism Experience of the Year' award as judges were captivated by the innovative and highly original experience on offer and the team's devotion to the customer.

Andrew Archibald of The Lowry Hotel was presented with the 'Tourism Star of the Year' with one judge commenting "I want to meet this man! He sounds great and displays what excellent customer service is all about."

The 'People's Choice Award for Best Tea Room' went to Annie's Restaurant & Tea Shop following an online public vote.

Nick Brook-Sykes, director of tourism at Marketing Manchester, said: "Greater Manchester's tourism industry continues to go from strength to strength and these awards are a fantastic means of demonstrating that. It's a terrific occasion and a great opportunity to recognise some of the business, organisations and individuals that excel far beyond what is expected and set the standard for others across the region. I'm delighted for all of tonight's winners and I wish the best of luck to those who are now eligible to go and compete on behalf of Greater Manchester at a national level at the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence."

With approximately 1.1 million international visitors a year, Greater Manchester is the third most popular destination in the UK for overseas visitors to Britain. The city's tourism industry generates £6.6 billion a year for the local economy and supports 84,000 full-time equivalent jobs.