Ireland’s tourism industry was celebrated at the Irish Tourism Industry Awards, where winners in 14 categories won awards for excellence and innovation. Minister for Tourism Shane Ross TD presented the Waterford Crystal trophies to winners at a gala event in the Clayton Hotel Burlington Road in Dublin.
The Irish Tourist Industry Confederation (ITIC), the umbrella group for the tourism industry in Ireland, organises the awards in conjunction with Failte Ireland and Tourism Ireland. Over 550 people from the industry were in attendance.
Designed with the intention of rewarding innovation and excellence in tourism, 14 worthy winners were ultimately selected from approximately 250 entries.
Award winners included Westport House for Best Leisure Tourism Innovation, Dublin Airport for Best International Access Initiative, and the GPO Witness History Visitor Centre for Best Cultural Experience.
There was also a Special Recognition Award from the Irish tourism industry for the Ireland 2016 Centenary Programme, which the adjudicating panel felt shone a positive spotlight on Ireland to a global audience.
Minister Ross said: “The range of awards recognises both innovation and excellence and rewards the best operators within Irish tourism. It gives us the opportunity to come together to champion excellence, reward success and inspire others in the tourism industry to follow suit. Congratulations to all winners.”
Adjudication on the awards was carried out by an independent panel of experts, chaired by Maurice Pratt, Chairman, Uniphar Group, and including Noirin Hegarty, Operations Director, Lonely Planet; Philip Browne, Chief Executive, IRFU; Simon McKeever, Chief Executive, Irish Exporters’ Association; and Marian O’Gorman, Chief Executive, Kilkenny Group.
Minister of State for Tourism Patrick O’Donovan TD said: “Irish tourism is performing extremely well and it is only fitting that successful initiatives, experiences and innovations within Ireland’s largest indigenous industry should be acknowledged and commended publicly.”
Paul Gallagher, Chairman, Irish Tourist Industry Confederation, said: “The Irish Tourism Industry Awards are a celebration of Irish tourism and validate all of the hard work that the industry puts into growing this sector. ITIC believes if pro-tourism policies are adopted and appropriate investment strategies implemented that overseas earnings from inbound tourism can be as high as €7 billion annually by 2025, thus adding another 50,000 jobs to the sector.”
All the Winners
- Best International Access Initiative: Dublin Airport
- Best international Marketing Initiative: MCI Dublin for the World Buiatrics Congress
- Best Leisure Tourism Innovation (city): King John’s Castle, Limerick
- Best Leisure Tourism Innovation (county): Westport House, Mayo
- Best Business Tourism Innovation: Green Light Events – Google Sales Conference
- Best Environmental Tourism Innovation: Lullymore Heritage & Discovery Park, Co Kildare
- Best Local Authority Tourism Innovation: The Lough Derg Marketing Group (a joint initiative of Tipperary, Clare and Galway County Councils)
- Best Innovative Place to Stay: River Valley Holiday Park, Co Wicklow
- Best Festival/Event Experience (over 50,000 people): Bray Air Display
- Best Festival/Event Experience (under 50,000 people): Aer Lingus College Football Classic 2016
- Best Adventure Experience: Vagabond Tours of Ireland
- Best Food & Beverage Experience: Airfield Estate, Dundrum, Dublin
- Best Cultural Experience (over 100,000 people): GPO Witness History, Dublin
- Best Cultural Experience (under 100,000 people): Cnoc Suain, Connemara, Co Galway
- Special Recognition Award: Ireland 2016 Centenary Programme