Local B&Bs starring role

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A COLERAINE Bed and Breakfast is one of only two in the country to receive FIVE stars in Northern Ireland Tourist Board’s newest quality accreditation scheme.

Crowfield House, which is owned and run by Mrs. S. Ferguson, gained the accolade alongside Maddybenny House, Portrush, which was given four stars and Camadoon and Glenleary, Coleraine, who each received three stars.

The one to five-star rating system matches that employed by the AA and other national tourist boards in Scotland, England and Wales, which assesses the cleanliness, hospitality, friendliness, bedrooms, bathrooms and breakfast of the tourist accommodations.Some assessments can involve a ‘mystery shopper’ visit.

Accommodation providers are not legally obliged to be quality assessed, but NITB is convinced that consumers value the star ratings system.

NITB Chief Executive, Alan Clarke, says: “High quality is vitally important in today’s marketplace, which is why in addition to accommodation NITB is developing plans for quality grading schemes for other sectors of the tourism industry such as visitor attractions.

“This particular scheme aims to improve the overall visitor experience through the development and promotion of high quality tourist accommodation.

“It offers a welcome accreditation to the accommodations themselves who can then use the star rating in their advertising to clearly communicate their quality standards to visitors when booking and staying. “With 2012 upon us – the biggest year ever for tourism here – it is very encouraging to see that our B&Bs are committed to demonstrating a commitment to high quality.

The scheme was developed with the support of the Northern Ireland Hotels Federation and the Northern Ireland Bed and Breakfast Partnership and is available to hotels, guest houses, hostels and guest accommodation as well as B&Bs.

From January it was opened to self-catering accommodation providers.