Belleek-based business Keenaghan Cottage took home the top prize in its category at Tourism NI's inaugural Giant Spirit Awards winning the award for Best Self Catering Accommodation (Small) at the ceremony last Thursday evening (October 6).

Representatives from tourism businesses and organisations across Northern Ireland gathered at the Slieve Donard Resort for the Giant Spirit Awards, which have replaced the Northern Ireland Tourism Awards, to recognise the efforts made by the industry over the last two years, celebrate excellence and look to the future.

The awards were sponsored by Newry, Mourne and Down District Council and received a record number of entries.

Tourism NI’s newly appointed chair, Ellvena Graham, commented: "I congratulate everyone who has been shortlisted for this evening’s awards. They have all come through a great deal and continue to contribute so much to our economy. I am a passionate advocate of tourism's potential when it comes to job creation and economic impact. This industry does really make a difference, and it can contribute more through even greater partnership and collaboration.”

Also speaking at the awards, Economy Minister Gordon Lyons said: “It is only right that we should celebrate the resilience and ingenuity shown by the tourism industry over the last two and a half years. We are also turning to the future and I am encouraged that closer to home markets are performing well and our international markets are starting to recover however I know that value for money will remain extremely important in the months ahead.

“The attraction of world class events, along with continued investment in our tourism infrastructure at home, and stand out marketing and promotion activities, will be central to delivering our desire to develop Northern Ireland as a leading tourism economy.”