The 148th Open Championship was a big winner at the recent 28th Northern Ireland Travel and Tourism Awards.
The prestigious and much-coveted Northern Ireland Travel Agent of the Year award this year went to Limavady Travel.
This year, the NI Tourism Industry Award went to Wilma Erskine. With 34 years hard work and dedication, the farmer’s daughter from Ballymoney has successfully navigated the golfing waters to bring The Open Championship back to Royal Portrush after a 60 year absence.
Her unique contribution to the tourism industry in Northern Ireland and the way she has given visitors to Royal Portrush an experience they will never forget makes both her famous moniker ‘The Boss’ and her award well deserved.
Royal Portrush Golf Club and the Open itself took home the Northern Ireland Special Achievement Award, a very well-deserved accolade. The small town of Portrush normally has a population count of just 7,000 people, yet during the course of the Open it was visited by over 250,000 people. Over eight days (four days of competition and four practice days) almost 240,000 spectators descended on the small seaside town on the North Coast after the Open returned to Portrush after a 68 year hiatus.
A lot of work went into the course and infrastructure on the North Coast. With £17 million spent on the town, Portrush has never looked better. And with two more Open Championships guaranteed, the wider and long-term benefit to tourism in Northern Ireland is almost immeasurable.
The Awards gala, organised by Northern Ireland Travel News in association with Blue Insurance, was attended by almost 440 members of the travel and tourism industry, as well as key decision makers from the travel and tourism industry in the UK and Ireland.
The glittering gala evening, held once again in the fabulous surroundings of the Slieve Donard Resort & Spa, was hosted by Charlie Lawson, better known as Coronation Street’s volatile, big Jim McDonald.
The full list of winners are below:
Best Tourist Information Centre 2019 – Visit Belfast Welcome Centre
NI Tourism Special Achievement Award 2019 – Wilma Erskine
NI Tourism Industry Award 2019 – Royal Portrush Golf Club – The Open 2019
Best NI Visitor Attraction 2019 – Titanic Belfast
NI Travel Student of the Year 2019 – Chloe Gordon
Best Travel Insurance Company 2019 – Blue Insurance
Best Luxury Cruise Line 2019 – Silversea
Best River Cruise Line 2019 – Riviera Cruises
Best Cruise Line 2019 – Royal Caribbean International
Best Accommodation Only Specialist 2019 – BookaBed/Room Team
Best UK Airline 2019 – Easyjet
Best Airline to Europe 2019 – Jet2.com
Best Airline Worldwide 2019 – Emirates
Best Ferry Company 2019 – Stena Line
Best Holiday Add-Ons or Car Hire Provider 2019 – Do Something Different
Best Worldwide Tour Operator 2019 – Gold Medal/Travel 2
Best Escorted Tour Operator 2019 – Travel Solutions
Best Specialist Tour Operator 2019 – American Holidays
Best Luxury Operator 2019 – If Only...
Best Ski Operator 2019 – Travel Solutions/Balkan Ski
Best Tour Operator to Europe 2019 – Jet2holidays
Best Destination Award 2019 – Spain
Travel Trade Manager/ Representative of the Year 2019 – Don Clarke
Best Sales Support Team to NI Travel Trade 2019 – Travel Solutions
Best Travel Industry Internet Booking System 2019 – Jet2holidays
Best NI Multiple Retail Agency Branch 2019 – TUI NEWRY
NI Travel Consultant of the Year 2019 – Janine Barr
Northern Ireland Travel Special Award 2019 – British Airways 100th Anniversary
NI Travel & Tourism Industry’s Roll of Honour – Lynda McCorry
NI Travel Industry Award 2019 – Brian Ambrose OBE
Northern Ireland Travel Agent of the Year 2019 – Limavady Travel