Blue Insurance Northern Ireland Travel and Tourism Awards

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions
Giants Causeway

The Giants Causeway. which did win a first place..

The Blue Insurance Northern Ireland Travel and Tourism Awards were handed out recently. It will come as little surprise to most of you that the TV series, Game of Thrones, was successful in winning an award in the category, Best Northern Ireland Tourism Marketing Initiative. It might surprise others that it didn’t win the top award nor that it won no other awards for the tourist authorities have majored on the success of the HBO series with trails and other links that they can devise.

These awards might be considered confusing for last May there was a similar awards ceremony for Northern Ireland.  Many tourism areas would be happy with one such awards honour; the province gets two!

Regular readers will forgive me a minute whilst I bemoan the fact that there is no award for customer service or customer satisfaction. I will try not to mention this too often over the next month or so when a swathe or regional tourism awards are made.

The closest award to one in customer service is, I suppose, that of best information centre which, this year was won by the Belfast Welcome Centre. At a time when many tourism centres are becoming manned by volunteers or are altered into virtual information centres, the importance of the human touch cannot be underestimated. These people hear the gripes and praises that accommodation providers, attractions, restaurants and events receive and are thus an important guide for visitors coming to a destination anew.

The Tall Ships that moored in Belfast this year pipped Game of Thrones to the top award in the Tourism Marketing Initiative for last year and the best visitor attraction was voted to be the Giants Causeway. No top award for Titanic Belfast this year!

The best domestic airline was judged to be Aer Lingus whilst United Airlines which provides the only scheduled transatlantic service from Belfast was voted the best airline worldwide. The best airline to Europe top award was won by EasyJet whilst another airline, Jet, won the top award in the category of best internet booking service. Its associated company, Jet 2 Holidays, won the top award as best package tour operator. Classic Collection Holidays won best luxury operator and Travel 2 was the best worldwide tour operator. Top Flight was the best ski operator and Travel Solutions, the best short breaks tour operator.

The best ferry company winner was Stena Line, the best cruise line – Royal Caribbean International and the best specialist cruise line was Silversea.

The Northern Ireland Travel Agent of the Year was Clubworld Travel in Lurgan with the Thomson agency in Armagh won the award in the category for those with multiple agencies. Getabed was considered the best accommodation only specialist and the Spanish Tourist Board was voted the winner in the tourist board section.  For those providing car hire and add-ons, Affordable Car Hire triumphed in that category and Blue Insurance was judged to be the winner in the best travel insurance category.

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