ENTERPRISE Minister Jonathan Bell has attended the 37th Annual Northern Ireland Tourism awards.
Belfast businesses who received recognition on the night were Titanic Belfast who ‘Won’ the Outstanding Visitor Experience category; Cabaret at The Mac which was ‘Commended’ in the Best Marketing Mix category; James Street South was ‘Highly Commended’ in the Best Food Tourism Experience category; Circuit of Ireland Rally was ‘Highly Commended’ in the Best Event/Festival Experience category.
Visit Belfast Welcome Centre was ‘Highly Commended’ in the Outstanding Visitor Experience category; Streamvale Open Farm was ‘Commended’ in the Extra Mile Award for Customer Service category; Titanic Belfast’s Discovery Tour was ‘Commended’ in the Extra Mile Award for Customer Service category and Jurys Inn, Belfast was ‘Commended’ in theSustainable Tourism Award category.
The gala ceremony, regarded as the highlight of the tourism calendar, recognised the most inspirational local providers and performers and celebrated the success of the tourism industry over the past year.
The 2015 awards spanned nine different categories and two special awards, reflecting developments and trends within the tourism and hospitality industry.
Speaking on his first official tourism engagement as Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Investment Jonathan Bell said:“Northern Ireland is fortunate to have such a range of ambitious, hard-working and innovative tourism providers, enterprises and stakeholders as demonstrated by the outstanding calibre and range of award winners tonight. This gives me great confidence that Northern Ireland is well equipped to maintain the momentum that has been generated in tourism and that we can continue the drive to increase its economic benefits.”
The Giro d’Italia, which was universally hailed as a major success for Northern Ireland, scooped the Outstanding Contribution to Tourism award.
Tourism NI Chairman, Terence Brannigan, said: “Tourism continues to offer one of the best opportunities we have to strengthen the local economy, and these awards are about celebrating the best practice, the innovation and the creativity that will help move the industry on. This evening’s awardees will no doubt be key to further success in the future, and therefore they deserve great credit and hearty congratulations.”
Awards sponsor Tom McCusker, Managing Director of Tennent’s NI, said, “Thanks to everyone who strives for excellence in all that they do within the tourism and hospitality sector, we are seeing Northern Ireland’s tourism grow from year to year. I must therefore applaud all who have won this year’s awards as their contributions to this increasingly vibrant and dynamic sector are taking Northern Ireland’s reputation for offering uniquely warm hospitality to its many visitors to new levels.”