The Bushmills Inn are celebrating being named ‘Northern Ireland’s Best Hotel Stay 2018’ in this year’s Northern Ireland Tourism Awards which have showcased the very best in local tourism for the fortieth time – at the venue where they first began.
The special anniversary event, organised by Tourism NI in association with Diageo NI, was held at the Europa Hotel in Belfast, where the inaugural awards took place in 1978.
The black-tie event, now regarded as the highlight of the tourism calendar, was presented by former BBC newsreader and Belfast native, Maxine Mawhinney.
Originally titled the ‘British Airways Tourism Endeavour Awards,’ the annual event has recognised many hundreds of local businesses over the years for their inspirational contribution to the tourism industry.
Celebrating the huge step changes in the industry over the last four decades, the anniversary event received a record number of entries spanning 11 different categories.
Speaking at the event, Tourism NI Chairman, Terence Brannigan, said: “Northern Ireland’s attractiveness as a tourist destination has come a long way in the last three or four decades. When you compare today with 1978, the step changes that have happened in our industry cannot be missed nor underestimated. In the last six years in particular the sector has performed consistently well.
“Today we are Lonely Planet’s Best Region in the World to visit in 2018 and we are preparing to host The Open Championship in 2019, the most prestigious golf event on the planet. I think we can feel extremely positive and excited about the future of tourism in Northern Ireland.”
Speaking on behalf of The Bushmills Inn Hotel Manager Alan Walls said, “We are thrilled to have won this extremely prestigious accolade, especially as this has been our 5th Northern Ireland Tourism Award in the past 4 years and our 3rd time winning ‘Hotel of the Year/Best Hotel Stay’. We are extremely proud of all our team who continue to not only deliver, but also exceed our guests’ expectations and this achievement pays tribute to them all.”