CHESTER can rightly claim to be an area of tourism hotspots after picking up a number of regional awards this week.
The cream of the region's tourism industry gathered at Liverpool Hope University on Monday for the second annual England's Northwest Tourism Awards.
Chester Zoo, the Green Bough Hotel and Bar Lounge were among the prizewinners.
The high-profile event, organised by the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA) and hosted by BBC North West's Diane Oxberry, was attended by tourism businesses and officials from across the region.
The winners all walked away with a trophy to mark their achievement and the recognition of being the best in the North West for 2005.
The England's Northwest Tourism Awards recognise excellence within the tourism industry and reward group and individual achievement during the past year.
Regional winners will have the opportunity to represent the North West in the national Enjoy England Awards for Excellence, organised by VisitBritain, which will be held in April 2006.
Felicity Goodey, chairwoman of the Tourism Forum for England's Northwest, said: 'The Tourism Forum for England's Northwest is committed to raising the quality of tourism in the region.
'These awards recognise and reward the leaders in this important industry, the people and businesses that are setting the standards for other to follow.
'Tourism is one of the fastest growing and most competitive industries in the world, worth £7bil-lion a year to the North West alone.
'It is vitally important that we continue to build on the best of what the region has to offer, in order to show the rest of the country, and the world, that England's North West is well on the way to becoming one of Britain's top tourist destinations.'
Other finalists included: Hotel of the Year - De Vere Carden Park, Chester; Bed & Breakfast of the Year - Chester Stone Villa, Peel Hey Guest House, Frankby; Large Attraction of the Year - Tatton Park, Cheshire; Small Attraction of the Year - Busybus, Cheshire; Excellence in Business Tourism - the Queen Hotel, Chester; Tourism Experience of the Year - De Vere PGA Seniors Championship, Carden Park, Chester.