Hospitality agency Fáilte Feirste Thiar has been paying tribute to the resilience and doggedness of local businesses and tourism champions ahead of tomorrow night's Best of the West Awards in the Devenish.

And the West Belfast Tourism Agency head Harry Connolly says rebuilding post-Covid is now a priority for the group as the economy starts to open up post-Covid.

"Our job is to ensure local people benefit from increased tourism footfall," he said. While the number of visitors is starting to grow again, we are a long way from the "dizzy heights" of 2019 - the best-ever year for tourism on the island of Ireland. 

As a sponsor of the Best of the West Hospitality Hero Award, Harry says the accolade will pay tribute to those hospitality champions who have kept spirits high during the pandemic. 

"Keep doing what you are doing because the hospitality industry is a key pillar of West Belfast," he adds.

The sixth annual Best of the West Awards will return to the Devenish tomorrow night for a sold-out event which will observe all Covid event protocols. Last year's celebration took place online only, making the 2021 gala the first major West Belfast in-person event since Covid restrictions were eased. 

Over 90 nominees, representing the cream of West Belfast, are shortlisted for 30 awards across multiple fields. You can follow updates from the awards presentation on the Andersonstown News Facebook page from 6pm on Friday 3 September. 

Video by Michael Jackson