The 29th Northern Ireland Travel & Tourism Awards in association with Blue Insurance, have been launched and voting is OPEN NOW!
The Awards winners this year will truly reflect the unprecedented time this industry has gone through in the past two years since the last Awards.
There have been many changes made, with some categories dropped for this year and replaced with Awards to reward those individuals and companies for the support given during the pandemic.
New categories will include Unsung Hero (recognising the travel agent who has gone above and beyond during the past year), Best Trade Engagement, Trade Innovation and Best Trade Support.
There has also been a change in voting criteria and the new categories will give everyone a chance to vote for the person or company that has stood out in their eyes.
Revealing that this years Awards will take place on the Friday 15th October, Jonathan Adair of NI Travel News, organisers of the Awards said: “We are delighted to be able to stage the Awards after last years postponement, and to be able to come back to the Slieve Donard Resort and Spa is something we can all look forward too.
“This has been a very difficult time for our whole industry and survival has been the priority for us all. During this tough time our agents and suppliers have had to be there for their clients and each other. This year’s Awards will give us a chance to reward all their efforts.”
This year will see the addition of a new category sponsor in George Best Belfast City Airport. Over the past year, the airport has added new routes and airlines to its portfolio, following a difficult 2020, looking forward to brighter times.
This years Awards will be hosted by local comedian Paddy Raff, a man that has kept a smile on our faces over the last 18 months. With his sell-out stage shows, national TV show and the frequent production of viral content on social media, he is one of the biggest names on the current comedy scene.
As in previous years there will be competition incentives in the public voting categories for local hotel breaks including getaways to the Maldron Hotel, Slieve Donard, AC Mariott and the Dunadry Hotel.
Voting will close at the end of September, a shorter time than normal due to the circumstances.
The sponsors for the 2021 Awards are:
- Blue Insurance
- Stena Line
- Travel Solutions
- Palladium Hotel Group
- George Best Belfast City Airport
- Tourism Ireland
The Northern Ireland Travel and Tourism Awards are organised by Northern Ireland Travel News in association with Blue Insurance.
It is important in this unique year that the votes cast by the travel agents in the trade categories are a true reflection of the support, rather than product the suppliers have provided during the pandemic.
THE AWARDS FOR 2021 WILL BE AS FOLLOWS:
Sponsored by Stena Line
Best Tourist Information Centre 2021
Best NI Visitor Attraction 2021
NI Tourism Industry Award 2021
NI Special Achievement Award 2021
Sponsored by Travel Solutions
Best Luxury Cruise Line 2021
Best River Cruise Line 2021
Best Cruise Line 2021
Best Travel Insurance Company 2021
Best Destination Award 2021
Sponsored by Palladium Hotel Group- Hard Rock Hotel Tenerife
Best Ferry Company 2021
Best UK Airline 2021
Best Airline to Europe 2021
Best Airline Worldwide 2021
Best Holiday Add-Ons or Car Hire Provider 2021
Sponsored by Silversea Cruises
Best Ski Operator 2021
Best Escorted Tours Operator 2021
Best Tour Operator to Europe 2021
Best Hotel Group 2021
Best Accommodation Only Specialist 2021
Sponsored by George Best Belfast City Airport
Best Worldwide Tour Operator 2021
Best Specialist Tour Operator 2021
Best Luxury Operator 2021
Best Trade Engagement Award 2021 (NEW)
VOTED FOR BY TRAVEL AGENTS – This award will give travel agents a chance to reward the company who, during the last two years and the pandemic, has had the best engagement with them with clear communication, meaningful support, webinars and blogs, product training and a positive outlook for a brighter future. This award will reflect this unique year and the special support that has been given by trade suppliers.
Best Trade Innovation Award (NEW)
VOTED FOR BY TRAVEL AGENTS – During the last year many suppliers have had to be very innovative in their response to the many issues which have arisen. With lockdowns and restricted face-to-face engagement many suppliers have created new forms of communication and support. This award will reflect a company that have stood out with new platforms, innovation and the use of new technology.
Sponsored by Blue Insurance
NI Travel Special Award 2021
NI Travel Industry Award 2021
NI Travel Agent Unsung Hero Award 2021 (NEW)
VOTED FOR BY TRAVEL AGENCY OWNERS AND SUPPLIERS – There has never been a more demanding time for our local travel agents, who have had to sort out rebooking, refunds and all the complex enquires relating to all forms of travel across all sectors of the industry. With many staff on furlough and the forced closure of their offices, travel agents have been there for their clients and suppliers throughout the ever-changing restrictions on travel over the last 18 months. They have had to deal with quarantine, testing requirements and vaccine certificate requirements while trying to do their normal job. It has been decided to the agency owners and suppliers the opportunity to nominate an individual travel consultant who they feel has been there throughout this period and who gone that extra mile for your business. You can now nominate your NI Travel Agent Unsung Hero 2021, in what has been an unprecedented 18 months for local travel agency staff. There has never been a better time to recognise the individual who was there for you. The nomination should be supported with a written submission of no more that 200 words.
Outstanding Trade Support Award 2021 (NEW)
VOTED FOR BY TRAVEL AGENTS – There has never been a more demanding time for our travel industry members, who have had to be there for their colleagues throughout the last two years to sort out rebooking, refunds and all the complex enquires relating to all forms of travel across all sectors of the industry, while dealing with their own issues at the same time.
It has been decided to give our local travel agents the opportunity to nominate an individual who you feel has been there throughout this period and to give a short overview of the reasons for your selection. You can now nominate for the Northern Ireland Travel Support Award 2021, in what has been an unprecedented 18 months for local travel agents and our industry. There has never been a better time to recognise the individual who was there for you. The nomination should be supported with a written submission of no more that 200 words.
Sponsored by NI Travel News
Northern Ireland Travel Agent of the Year 2021
VOTED FOR BY THE PUBLIC AND TRAVEL SUPPLIERS: There has never been a more demanding time for a travel agent, they have had to be there for their clients throughout the last two years to sort out, rebook, issue refunds and all the complex enquires relating to all forms of travel across all sectors of the industry. We are asking the public when making your selection it is important to take into consideration the pro-active support you received from your travel agent during this period. The travel agent has given this service under the pressure of staff on furlough, restrictions on office opening during lockdown, and the lack of clarity and changes and restrictions on travel. There has never been a better time to recognise your travel agent’s quality of service and reassurance they bring to you as a client. In addition to the public vote we are asking suppliers to vote for their NI Travel Agent of the year and their vote will have an influence on the finalists for this year Award. All suppliers will get the chance to vote.