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Tourism NI Unveils Shortlist for 40th NI Tourism Awards

Northern Ireland Tourism Awards

Posted by Tourism NI

Published April 26, 2018

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.

Tourism NI Unveils Shortlist for 40th NI Tourism Awards

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.

Today 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.

“Today 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

Bullitt Hotel

Bushmills Inn

Galgorm Resort & Spa

Merchant Hotel

NI's Best Self Catering Stay

Ballygally Holiday Apts

Blessingbourne Country Estate

Killyhevlin Lakeside Hotel & Lodges

Spice Cottages

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

To view the NITA 2018 sponsors video click here

Posted by Tourism NI

Produced by Tourism NI