Fermanagh tourism providers have celebrated winning a number of categories at the Northern Ireland Tourism Awards in the Ramada Hotel, Belfast.

The Killyhevlin Hotel and Health Club won the award for best marketing and sales excellence throughout the Province, while Destination Fermanagh won an award for the Tourism Partnership Initiative, while the Lough Erne Golf Resort won their award for the best hotel accommodation.

Over 270 members of the tourism industry gathered for the event organised by the Northern Ireland Tourist Board in partnership with Diageo Northern Ireland.

Addressing guests, Tourism Minister, Arlene Foster said that she was privileged to return as Tourism Minister to oversee Northern Ireland's year of opportunity in 2012, the UK City of Culture title for Londonderry in 2013, as well as a host of other exciting tourism developments over the next two years.

The Minister said: "2012 and 2013 will be our chance to shine. The opening of the world class Titanic visitor attraction and the state-of-the-art Giant's Causeway centre, together with the UK City of Culture title in 2013 for Londonderry will give Northern Ireland huge competitive advantage. The challenge lies with all of us in the tourism sector to fully maximise the potential and really put Northern Ireland on the map.

"This year's award winners are already leading the way in terms of quality, customer service and putting the visitor at the centre of everything they do. I am confident that with businesses and organisations such as these at the forefront of the industry, Northern Ireland tourism is poised to significantly contribute to the economy in the years ahead." NITB Chairman Howard Hastings said: " Tourism has had a massive £300 million investment from the headline projects in Belfast, Londonderry and the Causeway, to smaller scale improvements from the Glens to Fermanagh. We expect to boost visitor numbers, attract an additional £140 million in revenue and create over 3,000 new jobs as a result of activity in the next two years." "Over the next 12 months as we emerge from recession many tourism businesses will have to evolve their plans, diversify their options and work in partnership as there are signs that consumers plan to spend more on short breaks and leisure than last year. I would urge Northern Ireland tourism businesses to be flexible, and to adapt and seize all opportunities as a way to ensure future growth." Michael McCann, Head of Diageo Northern Ireland said: "Diageo is delighted to support the Northern Ireland Tourism Awards for a third year running. The tourism sector continues to have an increasingly important role in our future economic success and I believe tremendous potential exists for growth." "I would like to congratulate this evening's winners; you are the key to continued success and future development of our tourism industry. I would also like to commend all those who work so hard to ensure the continued successful marketing of Northern Ireland to visitors at home and abroad." Winners, Highly Commended and Commended, as follows: Hotel Accommodation, sponsored by Invest NI; Winner - Lough Erne Resort; Highly Commended - The Merchant Hotel; Commended - Westville Hotel Serviced Accommodation, sponsored by NITB; Commended - Belmore Court and Motel Marketing and Sales Excellence, sponsored by Tourism Ireland; Winner - Killyhevlin Hotel and Health Club Tourism Partnership Initiative; Sponsored by Tourism Ireland; Winner - Destination Fermanagh; Commended - National Trust: Waterways Ireland Lough Erne Classic Yacht Regatta.