THE Northern Ireland Tourist Board (NITB) in association with Diageo NI today launched the Northern Ireland Tourism Awards which recognise excellence in the tourism industry and are regarded as one of the main highlights in the tourism calendar.
The gala event will take place at the Ulster Hall on Thursday 29th May and NITB is encouraging tourism organisations of all sizes to enter and attempt to win recognition for their hard work and professionalism.
Nine award categories are up for grabs including hotel of the year and event of the year and this year NITB has introduced two new categories, ‘best use of social-digital media’ and the ‘innovation award’.
A website www.nitourismawards.com has also been set up to provide details on categories and how to enter. The deadline for submitting entries is Monday 24th February.
Howard Hastings, NITB Chairman, says the awards play a significant role in recognising best practice in the local tourism industry.
He adds: “The past two years have been nothing short of transformational for the industry and in that period tourism professionals have been toiling away to give our visitors the best possible experience of Northern Ireland.
“From world-class customer service in hotels and attractions to the quality of our events and festivals to the excellence of the local produce delivered to our restaurants, much has gone on behind the scenes to enhance our reputation and create excellent visitor experiences.
“This is the work that has helped fuel the strong forward momentum in the industry and this is what the NITB wants to celebrate in 2014.
“We encourage all kinds of tourism businesses to get involved. Winning could be as simple as telling us how you have evolved to take advantage of the new tourism environment or how you have gone that extra mile to set your business apart from the competition.”
Paddy McKenna, Commercial Manager, Diageo Northern Ireland said; “Diageo is proud to work in partnership with a successful tourism industry that continues to grow and we are delighted to get behind the Northern Ireland Tourism Awards for the sixth year in succession.
“The awards provide a great opportunity for the hospitality sector to gain recognition for the role they play in ensuring that visitors experience the best of what Northern Ireland has to offer.”
NITB will publish a shortlist of potential winners in the spring and the successful businesses and organisations will be revealed at a ceremony at the Ulster Hall event.