Tourism NI chairman Terence Brannigan congratulated the winners of the Northern Ireland Tourism Awards at a gala ceremony in St Columb’s Hall on Thursday.
The 2016 NITA awards spanned 14 different categories.
Mary Blake, the highly respected tourism development officer with Derry City and Strabane District Council lifted the Local Tourism Hero award.
The Outstanding Contribution to Tourism award was made to Dr Howard Hastings OBE, managing director of Hastings Hotels, and who held a widely praised six-year tenure as the chair of the former Northern Ireland Tourist Board.
The Most Promising New Tourism Business title, sponsored by Ulster Business School, Ulster University, was awarded to the Walled City Brewery.
The Derry Inter Irish Music Festival, promoted by Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin, was commended, and the Banks of the Foyle Hallowe’en Carnival, Derry City and Strabane District Council, was a finalist in the Best Event or Festival Experience category, sponsored by Tourism Ireland.
The Banks of the Foyle Hallowe’en Carnival, Derry City & Strabane District Council, was also highly commended in the Best Marketing Initiative, category, sponsored by Tourism NI.
County Londonderry outdoor adventure centre The Jungle NI won the Outstanding Visitor Experience of the Year, while the Circuit of Ireland Rally lifted the Best Event or Festival Experience title, decided by public vote.
Galgorm Resort and Spa scooped the Hotel of the Year award. In other accommodation categories, the winners were Blackwell House, which lifted the Serviced Accommodation award; Number 1 Barn Lane, the Non-Serviced Accommodation award; and the National Trust’s Crom Glamping Pods, which lifted the Unique Tourist Accommodation accolade.
Tourism NI chairman, Terence Brannigan, said: “There’s no doubt these awards are the biggest night of the tourism industry calendar and both the awardees and this city have done Northern Ireland proud. I am confident that the best practice, the innovation and the creativity demonstrated tonight will underpin Tourism NI’s efforts to help move the industry on and indeed strengthen the local economy.”
Brian Beattie, Marketing Director at Tennent’s NI, said: “Our congratulations go to an outstanding group of award-winners whose vision, hard work and enthusiasm are reinforcing Northern Ireland’s growing international reputation as a uniquely hospitable destination.
“Derry did the sector proud, rolling out the red carpet with style and panache for a fabulous gala celebration of all that’s best in tourism and hospitality.”