The record-breaking Irish Open 2012, which saw the event’s return to Northern Ireland after almost 60 years, has been recognised in the prestigious Northern Ireland Tourism Awards.
The event, which attracted 130,000 spectators and was the first ‘sold out’ tournament in the history of The European Tour at Royal Portrush Golf Club, came top in the Best Event/Festival category at the annual awards ceremony in the magnificent Belfast Waterfront Hall.
The Awards ceremony, which showcases the very best in Northern Ireland tourism, provided a superb platform for the political and business communities in Northern Ireland to celebrate the country’s growing popularity as a tourist destination.
Howard Hastings, Chairman of the Northern Ireland Tourist Board, and Arlene Foster, Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Investment, were the keynote speakers during an evening in which all elements of the Northern Irish tourism industry were explored.
The combination of a majestic golf course in Royal Portrush and the participation of four Irish Major Champions in Padraig Harrington, Rory McIlroy, Darren Clarke and Graeme McDowell, plus US PGA Champion Keegan Bradley of America and a host of European Tour and Major Champions, ensured that the Irish Open claimed the Best Event / Festival category.
In their citation, the judges “applauded the strong vision for the Irish Open and saw it as a stupendous success – an iconic event on all levels.”
Caption: European Tour officials receive the Best Event/Festival Award on behalf of the Irish Open from Chad Falls (centre) of sponsors Big Occasions.