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The 33rd Annual Northern Ireland Tourism Awards 2011

Last night, Thursday 26 May 2011, saw the Northern Ireland Tourism Board (NITB) Awards, in association with Diageo Northern Ireland, being presented at a Gala Dinner held at the Ramada Plaza Hotel, Belfast.

The NITB Awards recognise the work and achievements of the industry and encourage the delivery of excellence for Northern Ireland’s visitors.
Ireland & Northern Ireland really are part and parcel of an "Irish Holiday Package" and the sooner that this becomes better integrated into Ireland’s Tourism operators’ international advertising, the better for all involved.

The night is one of the most exciting in the Northern Ireland tourism and hospitality calendar and a great night was had by all those in attendance. Carolyn Boyd, NITB Industry Development Manager said, “Northern Ireland competes with some of the best destinations in the world and the Northern Ireland Tourism Awards succeed in raising the bar right across the industry, so we can exceed visitor’s expectations.”

The Northern Ireland Tourism Awards Categories were as follows:

Excellent Events - Entries were invited from event, festival or conference organisers, in private, voluntary or public sectors, who can demonstrate significant impact and success in attracting visitors to and entertaining them in Northern Ireland.

And the Winner is: Open House Festival

Taste of Northern Ireland - Non-accommodation sector establishments that provide food and drink to locals and visitors alike. Entrants must demonstrate how they have created a customer-friendly eating experience and use local suppliers and ingredients reflecting the quality of Northern Irelands’ artisan food produce.

And the Winner is: The Parson's Nose

Hotel Accommodation - Hotel establishments that are committed to excellence in service, customer care and hospitality.
And the Winner is: Lough Erne Resort  

Serviced Accommodation - Operators of Bed & Breakfasts, guesthouses and farmhouse establishments. The organisers were looking for operators who are committed to excellence in: service, customer care and hospitality.
And the Winner is: Rayanne House

Non-Serviced Accommodation - Operators of Hostels, self-catering, camping and caravan establishments. Operators who are committed to excellence in service, customer care and hospitality.
And the Winner is: Maddybenny Mews

Best Visitor Experience - Visitor attractions and experiences – including events and tours available on a seasonal or year round basis that can demonstrate their service excellence, customer care and hospitality as well as the quality of their presentation or interpretation.
And the Winner is: NMNI, Ulster Museum

Visitor Inspired - Organisations in private, voluntary or public sectors that can demonstrate the crucial role that staff play in creating happy customers or visitors - providing them with the best customer care and/or quality experience. Entrants are encouraged to provide details of training development or continuous improvement systems and processes and how these align with their business objectives.
And the Winner is: Belfast Zoo

Marketing & Sales Experience - Private, voluntary or public sectors organisations that have undertaken effective marketing or sales initiatives or campaigns. This category must show proven results that have had a positive impact on their business. Activities should include one or more of the following: promotional campaigns, collaborative marketing, press and PR, web based and/or direct marketing and sales activities.
And the Winner is: Killyhevlin Hotel & Health Club  

Tourism Partner Initiative - Companies that have undertaken initiatives or projects in partnership with others. These include private and public partnerships, those in same sector activities or part of the supply chain.

And the Winner is: Destination Fermanagh

New Tourism Project - Organisations that have undertaken new projects to improve tourism infrastructure, products or services. These may be individual projects or those delivered in partnership with other providers/bodies.
And the Winner is: Music Tourism Belfast

Outstanding Contribution to Tourism - An organisation, person, group or initiative that has made an outstanding contribution to the tourism and hospitality industry in Northern Ireland – This is a Special Award and the recipient is selected by members of the NITB council.

And the Winner is: Belfast City Council

This year the organisers decided to ‘keep it more local’ by playing music from local Belfast band General Fiasco on the PA between presentations - a decision that went down well with all those attending!

Clare Strawson, Corporate Relations Manager at Diageo NI said:
“Diageo is proud to support the Northern Ireland Tourist Board in the ongoing development of a vibrant tourism and hospitality sector. The Northern Ireland Tourism Awards are key to a thriving tourism industry and the future success of the Northern Ireland economy. Each year the standard of shortlisted entries continue to rise and this year is no exception."
She added, "The commitment and passion demonstrated by those working in the industry is evident again this year and this approach is essential to ensure that the standards for excellence across the sector remain high. Tourism businesses who continue to strive to give visitors a unique and authentic experience will be rewarded and Diageo is committed to supporting the industry to deliver excellent hospitality as well as innovative events.”

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