Columbus Tours Wins ‘Business Partner of the Year’ Award at Travel Counsellors Annual Conference

Columbus Tours Wins ‘Business Partner of the Year’ Award at Travel Counsellors Annual Conference

Columbus Tours, Travel Counsellors’ Destination Management Company in Sri Lanka, was awarded ‘Business Partner of the Year’ at Travel Counsellors Ireland’s annual conference at the 5-star Powerscourt Hotel in Enniskerry, Co Wicklow.

All the award winners at Travel Counsellors’ two-day annual conference at Powerscourt Hotel, Co Wicklow

The importance of using DMCs was a focus of the conference, which was themed ‘A Future Without Limits’, with sponsors including Cathay Pacific Airways, G Adventures, Travelport, and Turkish Airlines. The attendance included 64 of the 75 Travel Counsellors in the Republic of Ireland, TC Head Office teams from Cork and Manchester, and representatives from over 40 suppliers who took part in the conference ‘Pow Wow’.

Ciara MacConnell, Caitriona Kelleher, Cathy Burke, Stacy Ryall, Bernie Whelan and Nessa Hurley from Travel Counsellor Ireland’s Head Office

Sheree Lilley, Destination Manager – Asia and Australia, Travel Counsellors, and Ciara MacConnell, Sales Support Executive, Travel Counsellors Ireland, highlighted the value to Travel Counsellors in using the company’s 27 DMCs, four of which have online booking systems. New DMC guides are being produced – one for TCs, the other for TCs and clients.

Cathy Burke, General Manager, Travel Counsellors Ireland, presents the ‘Business Partner of the Year’ award to John Cotterill, Sales Executive, Columbus Tours

DMCs highlighted included TWX in India, which provides a mobile phone to every client on arrival; Tourvest in South Africa, which will be holding three webinars in May; and now Liberty, for Spain, France, Germany and Austria.

TC Mary Foyle said: “Using a DMC provides continuity with one supplier and local problems are sorted by them,” while Sarah McCarthy added: “DMCs offer great added value and the best hotel rooms – I trust them completely.”

Gearóid Mannion, Stacy Ryall and Liam Higgins

TC Award Winners

Cork-based Sarah McCarthy won the top award for ‘Best Travel Counsellor’ for the ninth year in a row – and also won the award for most sales through Phenix, the company’s in-house booking system. Sarah said: “What an honour it is to receive Best Travel Counsellor for the ninth year in a row. Twelve years ago I became a Travel Counsellor, and it’s a job I am so passionate about. I have an incredibly rewarding career where I can build and grow my own business while still having the support from such a dynamic travel company as Travel Counsellors.”

Other award winners were:

Best DMC Sales: Mary Foyle

Best MyTC: Claudia Lane

Best Travel Blog: Sarah Appleton

Best Use of Social Media: Karen Pugh

Best Corporate TC: Gearóid Mannion

Best Business Increase: Rachel Higgins

Best Cruise: Sinéad Lonergan

Best Margin: Nadine Farrelly

Best Newcomer: Emer McDermott

Most Helpful Travel Counsellor: Sharon Tiernan-Murphy

Cathy Burke, General Manager, Travel Counsellors Ireland, said: “Every year it is important to celebrate the hard work and commitment of our dedicated travel professionals. The gala awards are a perfect opportunity for such celebration, and I would like to congratulate the achievements of all of our Travel Counsellors. Each and every one of them have such passion for travel and are always focused on achieving the very best for their customers.”

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NEIL STEEDMAN has been a trade journalist, editor and proofreader for 53 years, and ITTN's News & Features Editor for 43 years. His travel blog is at

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