Belfast Telegraph

Tall Ships festival sails off with top tourism award

A maratime festival which drew nearly half a million people to Belfast was among the winners at the Northern Ireland Tourist Awards last night.

Belfast City Council was given the ‘excellent event’ award for the Belfast Maritime Festival which brought the Tall Ships to the city for the first time in nearly 20 years. Bushmills Inn won the accolade for best hotel while The Lime Tree Restaurant in Limavady won the Taste of Ireland gong.

Francis Brady, managing director of La Mon House Hotel, was presented with a Northern Ireland Heroes prize, an award set up to honour the contribution of people who deal with customers face to face.

The National Trust received an award for its outstanding contribution to tourism.

The awards ceremony was held in front of 350 guests at the Belfast City Hotel, where Tourism Minister Arlene Foster said the high turnout reflected the optimism in the sector.

“As we celebrate success in our industry we should recognise how far we have come over the last 12 months, and that the journey is really only beginning,” the minister said.

“We must continue to work together if we are to realise our target of a £1bn tourism industry for Northern Ireland in the next decade.”