Lifetime achievement award for 'beacon of tourism' Lord Diljit Rana
HOTEL boss Lord Diljat Rana MBE, widely acknowledged as one of the north's "beacons of tourism", who toiled through the dark days of the 1970s and 1980s to service the handful of visitors who dared come to Northern Ireland, has been handed a lifetime achievement award by Belfast Chamber of Trade and Commerce.
The accolade came at the end of the Bank of Ireland-sponsored Belfast Business Awards held in the City Hall, when 19 Belfast businesses were officially recognised at a dinner attended by more than 400 guests from the worlds of politics, business and showbiz.
Lord Rana heads up Andras House, one of the north's biggest hospitality groups, which operates six budget hotels offering close to 1,000 rooms.
The company, which has a portfolio including Ramada Plaza and the former Days Hotel (now Holiday Inn), was founded by Lord Rana in 1981 and opened its first hotel, the Holiday Inn Express in Belfast, in 1994.
Hugh Black, president of Belfast Chamber of Trade and Commerce, said: “This special recognition goes to Lord Rana for the invaluable work he has done not only in his own organisation, Andras Hotel Group, but for the outstanding contribution he has made to tourism in Northern Ireland.”
Mr Black said the Belfast Business Awards were "truly outstanding" and showcased "just what a fantastic city Belfast is to do business, live, work and shop in – and one which I am proud to represent."
Winners of the Belfast Business Awards were:
:: Best new business – Titanic Creative Management
:: Employee of the year – Rachel Lively (Foster & Sons Removal Ltd)
:: Customer service excellence (professional business services) – MCS Group
:: Customer service excellence (independent retailer) – Learning SPACE
:: Customer service excellence (multiple retailer) – Oasis Travel
:: Best coffee shop – The Good Food & Wine Company
:: Best eatery – Mourne Seafood Bar
:: Best marketing initiative – W5
:: Best creative business – Sixteen South
:: Businessperson of the year – Michael Stewart (Madisons Hotel, Bar Czar Ltd)
:: Best hotel – Ramada Plaza
:: Best digital marketing – W5
:: Best licensed premises – Sweet Afton
:: Young businessperson – Matthew Large (Glistrr)
:: Best green business – The Morning Star Bar & Restaurant
:: Best company to work for – Golf Now
:: Business growth award – Ground Espresso Bars
:: Best family business – Value Cabs
:: Lifetime achievement award – Lord Rana MBE