Hospitality & Tourism Business of the Year
Joint first-place winner of the Hospitality and Tourism Business of the Year alongside Crumlin Road Gaol was Belfast Food Tours. Belfast Food Tours was set up by dedicated foodie Caroline Wilson, after an inspirational food-filled trip around Europe.
“Belfast is such an amazing place,” she enthuses. “We’re going through an evolution of food, drink and tourism in general. It’s such a brilliant destination for a weekend and I feel that we should be eating food grown here, rather than food flown here.”
Winning an award is a great achievement for the exposure of any small business, and Caroline admits her surprise at receiving this validation so early in her new business venture.
She explains: "To be nominated in our first two years of business was enough for me. Then, to go on and actually win felt so good. It was really surprising and wonderful! We were up against a serious group of contenders, so to be on that level is something else. It’s brilliant to have recognition that we’re doing a great job in tourism."
The next step for Caroline is the expansion of her business into a new venture - Taste and Tour NI. “This is a way of putting all of our tours out there to hopefully get more corporate business” she reveals. “We’re going to get involved with more businesses in Northern Ireland and we’re hoping that our win in the Small Business Awards will help us to do so.”
Caroline’s advice to other small businesses is to put themselves out there and enter any award they can. She advises: “Don’t hide your light under a bushel and don’t be afraid to sing your own praises. Take a look at what you’ve been doing and show it off. It’s something that anyone should consider but it’s especially important for small businesses who don’t feel like they’re up there with the bigger fish.”