TOURISM NI in association with Diageo Northern Ireland has unveiled the shortlist of nominations for the 2018 Northern Ireland Tourism Awards, the fortieth year of the prestigious awards.
And Derry features strong in the shortlist for the awards.
In the Authentic NI Experrience of the Year, the Museum of Free Derry and the Seamus Heaney Homeplace hasve been nominated.
The Walled City Brewery and Derry City and Strabane DC – Slow Food Festival both have a good chance of winning the Ni Food and Drink Experience of the Year.
And Derry City and Strabane District Council’s ‘Derry Hallowe’en 2017’ should surely pick up the award for Best NI Event or Festival Experience.
Jorge Lopes, Diageo, Maxine Mawhinney this year’s NITA host and John McGrillen, Tourism NI
The gala event will be held on Thursday 24th May at the Europa Hotel where the first awards took place in 1978 and will be presented by former BBC newsreader and Belfast native Maxine Mawhinney.
The awards started life as the British Airways Tourism Endeavour Awards in 1978 and since then many hundreds of local businesses have been recognised for their contribution to the local tourism industry.
The awards celebrate best practice and innovation by tourism and hospitality businesses from across Northern Ireland.
Eleven categories recognising excellence are up for grabs including Best International Experience, Best Heritage Property, Best Hotel Stay and Best Tourism Entrepreneur.
Commenting on the shortlist, Tourism NI Chief Executive John McGrillen said;
“We have had a record number of entries to the 2018 awards and on the 24th May will be recognising those businesses and individuals who have delivered world class experiences and have contributed to the £2.7 million spent every day by visitors to Northern Ireland.
“We are the Lonely Planet’s Best Region in the World, with thousands of tour operators queuing to programme Belfast, the Causeway Coastal Route, Fermanagh, Armagh, the Walled City and many more parts of this corner of the island.
“This is a huge achievement considering the challenges that our tourism industry has faced over the last forty years.”
Jorge Lopes, Country Director, Diageo Northern Ireland, added;
“It’s wonderful to have so many tourism and hospitality businesses, organisations and initiatives from across Northern Ireland shortlisted for these awards.
“Such diversity of entrants highlights the quality of our tourism offering and reinforces the importance of this industry to our local economy and Northern Ireland as a whole.”
The shortlist has been drawn up by a panel of internal and external judges and includes nominations that are contesting in more than one category. The full shortlist is below;
Authentic NI Experience of the Year
An Droichead – Belfast Traditional Music Trail
Causeway Coast & Glens Heritage Trust – Artisans at Work
Seamus Heaney Homeplace
The Museum of Free Derry
Best NI Event or Festival Experience
Derry City and Strabane District Council – Derry Halloween
Dundrod & District Motorcycle Club – Ulster Grand Prix
Galgorm Castle – Northern Ireland Open
Best International Experience
Belleek Pottery Visitor Centre
Titanic Belfast- World Travel Award
Most Impactful Digital Innovation Award
Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council – Night Ride to Armagh: A Digital Transformation
Motorhome Parking Ireland – Motorhome Craic
The MAC Belfast
Most Promising Authentic NI Event or Festival Experience
Armagh, Banbridge & Craigavon Borough Council – Armagh Georgian Festival 2017
Outdoor Recreation NI – Giant’s Causeway Coast Sportive
XO Events – The Belfast Tattoo
NI’s Best Guest House/B&B Stay
Ardtara Country House
Blackrock House B&B
Water’s Edge, Glenarm
NI’s Best Hotel Stay
Galgorm Resort & Spa
NI’s Best Self Catering Stay
Ballygally Holiday Apts
Blessingbourne Country Estate
Killyhevlin Lakeside Hotel & Lodges
NI Food and Drink Experience of the Year
Balloo Inns Limited – ‘The Parson’s Nose’
Derry City and Strabane DC – Slow Food Festival
Walled City Brewery
NI Tourism Entrepreneur of the Year
Bespoke Northern Ireland
Fullerton Arms Guest House
Streamvale Open Farm
NI Tourism Heritage Property of the Year
Antrim & Newtownabbey Borough Council – Antrim Castle Gardens
Blessingbourne Manor & Country Estate
Crumlin Road Gaol
To view the shortlist again or purchase tickets visit www.nitourismawards.com
To view the NITA 2018 sponsors video click here