South Tyneside could scoop two top tourism prizes

AWARD HOPE ..music fans at one of the Bents Park summer festival events. Below, left to right, Zeera director Shahanoor Choudhury with his brothers Kohinoor, head chef, and second chef Abadur.
AWARD HOPE ..music fans at one of the Bents Park summer festival events. Below, left to right, Zeera director Shahanoor Choudhury with his brothers Kohinoor, head chef, and second chef Abadur.

SOUTH Tyneside is in line to scoop two top tourism prizes.

Zeera restaurant in Ocean Road, South Shields, has been shortlisted for the Taste of England Award in the North East England Tourism Awards 2014.

Zeera's  Shahanoor, Kohinoor and Abadur Choudhury.

Zeera's Shahanoor, Kohinoor and Abadur Choudhury.

Also in the running for recognition is South Tyneside Council with the South Tyneside Summer Festival shortlisted for the Tourism Event of the Year accolade.

Bosses at Zeera, an Indian restaurant, are hoping to take home the top prize from a glitzy ceremony to be held at Sunderland’s Stadium of Light next month.

The restaurant opened in December 2007 after brothers Shahanoor, Kohinoor and Abadur Choudhury decided to open their own place.

Zeera quickly became a favourite for curry lovers and head chef Kohinoor went on to win South Tyneside Chef of the Year twice in 2009 and 2011 and North East Curry Chef of the Year 2012.

Zeera director and former Bangla Achievement Awards Entrepreneur of the Year, Shahanoor, said: “We have worked for over 10 years in restaurants on Ocean Road and always thought that one day we would open our own place and run it the way we wanted.

“It was a big step but it has all been worth it and to gain recognition in the North East Tourism Awards is amazing for us. I would like to thank all the staff and all of our customers.”

This year’s South Tyneside Summer Festival saw thousands flock to the borough to enjoy free concerts from the likes of Shayne Ward, Heather Small and 10cc, and other events.

Coun Alan Kerr, deputy leader of South Tyneside Council with responsibility for culture and leisure, said: “We are delighted that our Summer Festival has been shortlisted for such a prestigious award. The festival is a key feature in our annual events programme and boosts tourism which is worth more than £200m to the local economy.

Sarah Stewart, chief executive of NewcastleGateshead Initiative, which organises the awards on behalf of the Northern Tourism Alliance, said: “The North East England Tourism Awards are an important platform, recognising the quality and innovation that ensures our tourism offer remains one of the strongest in the country. Congratulations to all those shortlisted and good luck.”

Twitter: @shieldsgazvicki