The Northern Ireland Tourist Board has received three awards in one week.
NITB has been recognised by the tourism industry for the role it has played in the high profile ni2012 Our Time. Our Place campaign while NITB Chief Executive Alan Clarke has been awarded the accolade of ‘Hospitality Hero 2012’ for his contribution to Northern Ireland’s tourism industry over the past 10 years.
Alan Clarke was recognised at the 2012 Northern Ireland Hotels Federation President's Annual Gala Dinner for his vision, leadership and commitment to the development of the tourism sector in Northern Ireland, culminating in the success to date of the ‘ni2012 Our Time Our Place’ campaign.
Meanwhile on Friday night NITB was honoured at the Northern Ireland Travel and Tourism Awards dinner in Newcastle Co Down for its role in securing and running the Irish Open with a lead in time of six months and for its work on the ni2012 campaign.
Clarke has over 30 years’ experience in the tourism industry and was appointed NITB Chief Executive in 2001. Since then he has been a driving force behind major growth in tourism, steering NITB through a period of change and high levels of investment, culminating in the ‘ni2012 Our Time Our Place’ campaign.
Clarke said he was delighted to receive the three awards on behalf of all colleagues and staff at NITB.
“It’s a great privilege for me to receive these awards from the industry in which we work,” he said.
“When I took on the role of chief executive I was attracted by the challenge of taking NITB through a period of change and by the opportunity to grow and develop tourism in Northern Ireland. This has come to fruition this year with ‘ni2012 Our Time Our Place’.
“2012 has been a year I will never forget. From the opening of Titanic Belfast and the Giants Causeway visitor centre to the hosting of major events including the Irish Open at Royal Portrush, Peace Camp, Land of Giants and BBC proms on the Titanic slipways and many more, we’ve had a truly momentous year which has placed Northern Ireland firmly on the global tourism map and provides a springboard for the future,” he added.
“One of the achievements of the ni2012 campaign so far has been to create a tangible sense of pride among people living here in what Northern Ireland and its people have achieved. Moreover, in terms of the timing, with our golfers achieving world domination, an Oscar winning film director in Terry George, and another Northern Ireland man Brendan Rodgers now managing Liverpool FC, I also don’t think we could have planned it better.
Now we need to keep the momentum going and we’re already looking forward to a fantastic 2013 with Derry~Londonderry as UK City of Culture and the World Police and Fire Games in Belfast” .
“All of the staff at NITB work tirelessly to make Northern Ireland a place where people want to live, work, study and invest. Our vision for the next decade is to double the size of the tourism industry and potentially create up to 10,000 extra jobs by 2020”. said Clarke.
James Greer, publisher of award sponsor Hospitality Review NI, Northern Ireland’s leading hospitality industry magazine, paid tribute to the achievements of NITB and its chief executive.
“With all his efforts in bringing ‘Our Time, Our Place NI 2012’ to fruition there really is no more fitting a winner of the Hospitality Hero Award for 2012 than Alan Clarke, who is confidently putting Northern Ireland on the global tourism map,” said Mr Greer.
“Alan has tirelessly promoted Northern Ireland and as award sponsor we’ve no doubt local tourism will continue to benefit from his hard work and efforts for many years to come. He is a true asset to the Northern Ireland tourism scene and we would like to congratulate him on a very well deserved accolade,” he added.