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Last Updated: Thursday, 14 June 2007, 10:28 GMT 11:28 UK
York voted top city for tourists
York Minster
York Minster is one of the city's biggest tourist attractions
The historic city of York has been voted European Tourism City of the Year at an awards ceremony in Athens.

The city beat 130 rivals to scoop the award. Gothenburg in Sweden and Valencia in Spain were in second and third place.

A panel of judges said they were impressed by York's "world-class attractions, distinctive shopping, festivals and events".

The awards were set up to recognise tourism excellence throughout Europe.

An awards spokesman said York was a "destination well worth visiting, and on a year-round basis, too".

'Huge endorsement'

He said the judges had praised the city's pedestrianised public areas, its popular park and ride scheme and the railway station visitor information centre.

"Efforts have also been made to enhance the attractiveness of the city, with architectural and artistic lighting of public areas and beautiful flower displays at roundabouts."

Gillian Cruddas, from York Tourism Bureau, said the award was "a huge endorsement for everyone involved in tourism in York".

"If an independent panel of judges has voted York the best city destination in Europe we must be doing something right.

"This award will enable us to market ourselves even more strongly and is certain to help increase visitor numbers from Europe and beyond."

In the past 10 years, York has seen a growth of 52% in visitor spending. In 2006, it recorded nearly four million visitors.

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