Blue Insurances was declared the ‘Irish Travel Industry Entrepreneur of the Year 2012’ at the 21st anniversary Irish Travel Trade Awards celebrations in the Burlington Hotel, Dublin, on Friday evening (30thNovember). Blue Insurances also won one of 25 Irish Travel Trade Awards – the ‘Oscars’ of the Irish travel industry – for ‘Best Travel Insurance Company’.
The Gala Dinner was attended by 350 top representatives of the Irish travel industry and had Dubai-based Emirates Airline as headline sponsor. Fourteen guests received lucky draw prizes of flights for two to destinations worldwide, Caribbean and River Danube cruises, and a holiday for two in Tenerife.
The three finalists for the Entrepreneur of the Year Award, who were selected by a judging panel comprising Catherine Grennell-Whyte representing the Association of Foreign Airlines; Liam Lonergan of Club Travel, last year’s winner; and Ronan Flood of ‘Irish Travel Trade News’, were Blue Insurances, BookaBed.ie and CarTrawler.
Irish Travel Trade News
Ronan Flood, Managing Editor of ‘Irish Travel Trade News’, told those attending: “ITTN has been serving the Irish travel industry since 1964 and our website, www.ittn.ie, now receives almost 200,000 visits a year, or an average of 16,000 a month, or just under 4,000 every week. Our daily ‘Irish Travel eBulletins’ now email 30 to 40 news stories directly to the desks of Irish travel industry personnel every week.
“Twenty-one years ago we introduced what have long since become established as the Irish travel industry’s very own ‘Oscars’ – the Irish Travel Trade Awards. These awards are determined by the professional travel agents of Ireland, North and South, and have therefore always been a much sought after accolade by travel industry suppliers. Many have used them in their marketing collateral and consumer advertising – as I am sure the winners of the 2012 Awards will also.
“2012 has been another difficult year for most involved in the travel industry, but all of us here have survived and there are signs – admittedly tentative! – that the worst is at least over, even though consumers’ disposable incomes will continue to be under pressure. And who knows what may be in next week’s Budget!
“As regards consumer protection requirements, the need for a level playing field between bricks-and-mortar travel agents, online agents, airlines and other travel providers is as great a priority as ever. This may be addressed by changes to the EU Package Travel Directive – we should see more details in the spring – but travel agents should also be aware that, when dynamically packaging, their status may be changed from agent to that of principal under the proposed new Directive.”
21st Irish Travel Trade Awards
Among the 25 Awards presented, Spain was declared the ‘Best Sun Destination’, Thailand won the Award for ‘Best Asia / Pacific Destination’, and Falcon Holidays was voted ‘Best Sun Holiday Tour Operator’, with Royal Caribbean International being awarded ‘Best Cruise Company (3/4 Star)’.
Topflight was presented with the ‘Best Ski Tour Operator’ Award – for a record 18th time – and was also voted, for the first time ever, as ‘Best Long Haul Tour Operator’.
The ‘Best Airline to Europe’ Award was won by Aer Lingus, which was also a joint winner, with United, of the ‘Best Airline to North America’ Award. Etihad Airways won two Awards: ‘Best Long Haul Airline’ and ‘Best Premium Class Airline’.
2012 IRISH TRAVEL TRADE AWARDS WINNERS:
Irish Travel Industry Entrepreneur
of the Year: Blue Insurances
Best Europe Destination: Spain
Best North America Destination: New York
Best Middle East / Africa Destination: Dubai
Best Asia / Pacific Destination: Thailand
Best Theme Park Destination: Disneyland Paris
Best Sun Holiday Tour Operator: Falcon Holidays
Best Ski Tour Operator: Topflight
Best Niche Tour Operator: One Stop Touring Shop
Best Long Haul Tour Operator: Topflight
Best Airline to Europe: Aer Lingus
Best Airline to North America: Aer Lingus and United
Best Long Haul Airline: Etihad Airways
Best Premium Class Airline: Etihad Airways
Best Ferry Company: Irish Ferries
Best Cruise Company (3/4 Star): Royal Caribbean International
Best Cruise Company (5/6 Star): Celebrity Cruises
Best Leisure Car Rental Company: Holiday Autos
Best Business Car Rental Company: Hertz
Best Resort Transfer Company: Resort Hoppa
Best Accommodation Provider: Bookabed.ie
Best National Tourist Office: Spanish Tourism Office
Best Travel Technology Provider: Amadeus
Best Dynamic Packaging System: BookaBed
Best Travel Insurance Company: Blue Insurances
Best Agent Friendly Supplier: Amadeus