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Carrick Cottage in the Mournes has been selected as a finalist from Newry, Mourne and Down Council area in Northern Ireland’s ‘Best’ Small Visitor Attraction.

The finalists will now be visited by a judging panel with a TripAdvisor representative

The attraction or experience from each council area which received the highest number of ‘likes’ from members of the public on the airport’s Facebook page are now proceeding to the final stage of the competition, and are one step closer to winning £30,000 of free marketing support and brand visibility at Belfast City Airport.

A judging panel consisting of representatives from across the travel and tourism industry, will now visit and score each visitor attraction and experience. Joining Katy Best, Commercial Director at Belfast City Airport, will be Tourism NI’s Chief Executive, John McGrillen, alongside Justin Reid, Director of Destination Marketing Europe, Middle East and Africa at TripAdvisor.

John McGrillen, CEO Tourism NI; Katy Best, Commercial and Marketing Director at Belfast City Airport;  and former NEwry, Mourne and Down Chairman Cllr Mark Murnin
John McGrillen, CEO Tourism NI; Katy Best, Commercial and Marketing Director at Belfast City Airport; and former Newry, Mourne and Down Chairman Cllr Mark Murnin.

Other finalists

Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council

World of Owls

Ards and North Down Borough Council

The Somme Museum

Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council

Museum of Orange Heritage

Belfast City Council

Taste and Tour NI

Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council

RSPB Rathlin West Light Seabird Centre

Derry City and Strabane District Council

Siege Museum

Fermanagh and Omagh District Council

Erne Water Taxi

Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council

Clip ‘n Climb

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council

Kilcreggan Urban Farm

Mid Ulster Council

Todds Leap

The competition, which was open to visitor attractions and experiences across Northern Ireland that have an annual footfall of less than 100,000, will offer the winner £20,000 of branding on site and £10,000 of online support through the airport’s digital channels.

Katy Best, Commercial Director at Belfast City Airport, said “We are delighted to announce the finalists from each council area, all of which truly represent the diversity of the tourism industry here in Northern Ireland.

“The public vote on the airport’s Facebook page attracted over 21,000 votes with the campaign reaching almost 400,000 people online. The visibility this stage of the competition has provided the shortlisted attractions will hopefully be of great benefit in raising their profile amongst on audience.

“During the next stage of the competition, a judging panel will visit each of the finalists and determine an overall winner.

“The winning attraction or experience will have the opportunity to boost its profile amongst an audience of 2.6m local and overseas visitors that travel through the airport each year.

“I would like to thank those who got involved and voted for their favourite attraction or experience on the airport’s Facebook page over the past few weeks, it is great to see the amount of support each one has received from members of the public.

“I am also delighted to announce that travel expert Justin Reid, Director of Destination Marketing Europe, Middle East and Africa at TripAdvisor, will be joining myself and Tourism NI on the judging panel for the final stage of the competition.”

The £20,000 of free advertising on offer at the airport will be across a number of formats within the terminal, while the £10,000 of digital support will include activities such as email solus campaigns and social media takeovers.

Tourism NI’s Chief Executive, John McGrillen, said “The finalists who have reached the last stage of the competition play a vital role within the Northern Ireland tourism industry, with each one offering visitors to the area a rich and diverse experience.

“I would like to congratulate not only the finalists, but all who were shortlisted in each region and I hope this initiative has helped to increase awareness of the variety of attractions and experiences available across Northern Ireland.

“Good luck to all of the finalists and I look forward to seeing what each has to offer during the judging process and the much-anticipated winner announcement this summer.”

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