ArtsEkta has won the Best Northern Ireland Festival at the inaugural NI Hospitality Awards for the Belfast Mela, the region's biggest celebration of cultural diversity.
A month ago tens of thousands of people packed Botanic Gardens for one amazing afternoon as the usually tranquil city centre setting was transformed into a massive international festival village, brimming with colour, vitality and exuberant good humour. In a kaleidoscope of colour and atmosphere communities partied under the watchful gaze of a giant Buddha statue, revelling in the sights, sounds, scents and sensations of a wealth of nations.

Organised by UK group Creative Oceanic, the NI Hospitality Awards celebrated the very best in products and services from across the local hospitality industry recognising those that create exceptional visitor experiences for local citizens and tourists. 

Nisha Tandon OBE, Executive Director of ArtsEkta, who received the award said: 

'Welcoming over a quarter of million visitors since 2007, the Mela has grown to become one of the most important national events in our cultural landscape showing how far we have come as a society and our continued aspirations for a shared future in Northern Ireland.

A massive thank you to everyone involved in the event over the years and of course to our audiences who really create the magic of Mela'.

Winners were revealed at a ceremony at Crowne Plaza on the 26th September. Other events nominated in the category of Best NI Festival were Belsonic, Sunflower Fest, Happy Days Enniskillen International Beckett Festival, Bliss Summer Festival, Newcastle Festival of Flight Air Show and Linenfields Festival.

The Mela returns to Belfast next year on the 26th August 2018. 

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