THE Northern Ireland Tourist Board (NITB) is celebrating after scooping three recent accolades across the travel and business sectors.
NITB recently took home the Best Tourist Board award at the NI Travel and Tourism Awards event for the first time, beating off stiff competition from Barbados, Dubai and Spain. The organisation has been shortlisted for the award on several occasions.
At the event NITB also collected the best NI Tourism Marketing Initiative for 2014 for its work around the highly successful Giro d’Italia cycling race.
The run of plaudits for NITB’s work continued late last week with a further honour at the prestigious UTV Business Eye Awards.
NITB won the Tourism & Hospitality Project of the Year at the event last Thursday night, once again for the planning and delivery of the Giro d’Italia Big Start.
Howard Hastings, NITB chairman said all the awards were down to a strong team effort: “We are extremely proud to be named Best Tourist Board after knocking at the door for that award several times, and in relation to the Giro it is particularly satisfying to scoop both the Tourism/Hospitality Project of the Year and best NI Tourism Marketing Initiative because a great deal of teamwork, both within NITB and with partners across Northern Ireland, went into its planning, marketing and delivery.
“A special thank you must therefore be extended to all partners who dedicated themselves and made an exceptional effort to ensure the event went so well.
“Everyone’s efforts for the Giro meant Northern Ireland’s scenery and top tourist sites and pictures of welcoming and enthusiastic people were beamed into the living rooms of 175 countries all over the world – a glowing example of how expertly run and well-marketed sports events can ‘sell’ countries and regions.”
Former NITB Chief Executive Alan Clarke, who retired last month, was also honoured at both ceremonies for his hugely positive impact on the international image and marketability of Northern Ireland. During his years at NITB Mr Clarke drove the vision and delivery for the five signature projects and stand out tourism events which ultimately resulted in the launch and positioning of Titanic Belfast, the ni2012 campaign, the Irish Open, UK City of Culture, Giro d’Italia and many other local tourism infrastructure projects.
Mr Hastings continued, “We are also delighted to see Alan Clarke receive another two awards. His 13 years at the helm of NITB have left Northern Ireland on a completely new level in terms of our standing with a global tourism audience”.