Minister of Transport, Tourism & Sport Shane Ross TD has launched the Irish Tourism Industry Awards 2017. The awards give recognition to and promote companies and organisations that have made significant contributions to Irish tourism and to increasing the number of visitors from overseas.
The awards are organised by the Irish Tourist Industry Confederation (ITIC) in conjunction with Fáilte Ireland and Tourism Ireland. The awards ceremony will take place on Friday 3rd February 2017 in the DoubleTree by Hilton Dublin – Burlington Road.
Speaking at the launch in the CHQ Building in Dublin, the Minister said: “The Irish Tourism Industry Awards celebrate all that is good in the Irish tourism industry. Tourism has performed extremely well in recent times. It is a key aspect of Ireland’s economy as it provides jobs and growth in all parts of the country. It is right that we acknowledge the people and companies that have helped promote tourism.”
The awards are a biennial event and there are 14 awards available in three main categories: International Initiatives, Tourism Innovations, and Tourism Experiences. Entries for the 2017 Awards can be made up to Friday 18th November 2016 at www.irishtourismindustryawards.ie.
Paul Gallagher, Chairman of ITIC, said: “The Irish Tourism Industry Awards offer an opportunity to celebrate best-practice and excellence in our industry. Recent CSO figures show that employment in tourism has increased by a further 10,000 in the past 12 months – the industry continues to grow and provide jobs throughout the economy. Saying that, we must continue pro-tourism policies and investment strategies to ensure sustainable growth.”
The awards will encompass the many sectors and experiences of Ireland’s diverse tourism industry. Awards include: Best International Marketing Initiative, Best International Access Initiative, Best Leisure Tourism Innovation, Best Business Tourism Innovation, Best Environmental Tourism Innovation, Best Local Authority Tourism Innovation, Best Innovative Place to Stay, Best Festival / Event Experience, Best Adventure Experience, Best Food & Beverage Experience, Best Cultural Experience.
The organisers have appointed an independent judging panel to select winners. The panel will be chaired by Maurice Pratt (Uniphar plc) and includes Philip Browne (IRFU), Noirin Hegarty (Lonely Planet), Marian O’Gorman (Kilkenny Group), and Simon McKeever (Exporters Association of Ireland).
Niall Gibbons, Chief Executive, Tourism Ireland, added: “Overseas tourism to Ireland continues to perform very well. It has been the best ever January to July period for overseas visitors to Ireland, with more than 5.4 million arrivals, representing an increase of almost +13% – 612,400 additional overseas visitors when compared with the first seven months of 2015. New and innovative products and tourism experiences are vital to ensure the continued success of overseas tourism – and the Irish Tourism Industry Awards act as a superb showcase.”
However, while tourism is performing strongly, ITIC warned that growth and regional balance should not be taken for granted. The group said that the decisions taken in Budget 2017 would be critical to the sector’s performance, especially in the aftermath of the Brexit referendum in the UK.
Paul Gallagher said: “Continued growth for tourism in Ireland is predicated on a competitive industry and appropriate long-term government policies and investment strategies. The tourism industry in Ireland has created 40,000 jobs over the past four years. However, external factors such as Brexit risk making the trading environment more difficult and very uncertain.”