Eight of the 22 award category winners at the 28th ITTN Awards Gala Dinner held on 22nd November – the Irish travel industry’s ‘Oscars night’ – highlight their main messages for the travel trade in 2020.
Some 350 travel industry representatives attended the event and the highlights can be viewed here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=DBXsC1xNcDM
An important date for your diary is Friday 27th November 2020 – when the 29th ITTN Awards Gala Dinner will again be held at the Clayton Hotel Burlington Road, Dublin 4.
ITTN Travel Agency of the Year
A highlight of the evening was when Dublin-based Platinum Travel was declared ITTN Travel Agency of the Year after regional awards were presented to Platinum Travel (Leinster), Travel Focus (Munster), Fahy Travel (Connacht), and Oasis Travel (Ulster).
Platinum Travel organises tailor-made leisure and corporate travel arrangements around the globe. It is a specialist in bespoke holidays to the USA, including personalised fly-drive itineraries, escorted tours, city breaks and family holidays.
Managing Director Ciara Foley said: “It is such an honour and a privilege to accept this award from ITTN. To be acknowledged by our suppliers and the judges as the top agent in Ireland is absolutely wonderful.
“We work extremely hard and we adore what we do. All our team are very experienced and we love looking after our clients, making sure we help them fine tune all their travel arrangements right down to the smallest detail. We offer a very high level of personal service and pay close attention to detail on all aspects of clients travel arrangements.
“We liaise closely with our US partners to ensure we have the right products and destinations for our clients. In addition, we spend a vast amount of time attending travel conferences – including in the USA – and visiting cities and States across the country.
“We also participate in as many training sessions as we can. Because of this, every member of the Platinum team is highly knowledgeable and an expert in their field.”
Malta: a New Headline Sponsor
This year’s ITTN Awards had four Headline Sponsors (Emirates, Hertz, Malta Tourist Authority, and the Spanish Tourist Office) and nine Sponsors (Amazing Thailand, Cork Airport, Expedia TAAP, La Vegas CVA, Salou Tourist Board, Shannon Airport, SIlversea, The Travel Corporation, and Turkish Airlines).
The Malta Tourist Authority was a first-time Headline Sponsor. Tolene van der Merwe, who joined the MTA in October this year as UK & Ireland Director, said: “We were very pleased to support the ITTN Awards this year as a Headline Sponsor as it is part of our increased commitment that we are making to collaborate with the trade in 2020.
“A key highlight for 2019 was the launch by Ryanair of its Cork-Malta route – this added approximately 10,000 extra seats, which we believe has been well received in the Cork region. We welcomed some 50,000 passengers to Malta in 2019 and we hope that the Irish trade will continue to support us so that we can increase these numbers for 2020 and beyond.
“Getting to Malta has never been easier with the direct 3.5 hour flights from Dublin and Cork, with return prices in 2020 starting from €200 per person.
“Our events calendar for next year is unrivalled as we have everything from Jazz festivals and wine tasting events to the renowned Annie Mac in April 2020 with the Lost and Found Festival and Valletta International Baroque Festival, to name but a few.
“The extremely popular Valletta International Baroque Festival, in its eighth year, will take place from 10-25 January 2020. The festival will feature some of the best international and local artists of Baroque music at concerts that will take place in prestigious venues such as the historical Teatru Manoel and St John’s Co-Cathedral.
“Malta certainly knows how to throw a party and there are few better celebrations on the island than the famous Carnival in Malta & Gozo, which takes place from 21-25 February. The heart of the action takes place in Valletta but various towns and villages across the islands have their own version of festivities. It’s a time to let your hair down and go with the flow – perfect for those who enjoy a good party!
“After experiencing the Carnival you can then treat yourself to some rest and relaxation. Malta has over 40 health spots and spas, with friendly staff whose aim is to ensure that you are properly pampered. Many of Malta’s top hotels also offer plenty of relaxation treatments and have superb facilities including gyms, pools and saunas.
“Our boutique hotel offering, particularly in the Valletta area, has been developed over the past few years and features some stunning architecture and furnishings. They have become a very popular option for those seeking a historical and cultural city break.
“Finally, if it’s activities your clients want, we have everything to suit the family’s needs such as water sports, diving, jeep safaris, and lots of other attractions to keep the children busy!
“We are really looking forward to working with you in 2020 and happy to help with any questions you have. Our website www.maltaireland.com contains lots of useful information, and www.maltatraining.com is a helpful resource for those wanting to expand their product knowledge on our destination.
“Wishing you all a very happy Christmas and continued successful businesses for 2020.”
Award Categories, Top Nominees and Winners
Best Airline Ex-Ireland: Top Nominees: Aer Lingus, Emirates, Finnair, Ryanair, Turkish Airlines; WINNER: Aer Lingus
Best Long Haul Airline: Top Nominees: Emirates, Etihad Airways, Finnair, Qatar Airways, Turkish Airlines; WINNER: Emirates
Best Premium Economy Airline: Top Nominees: Air Canada, British Airways, Lufthansa, United Airlines, Virgin Atlantic; WINNER: Virgin Atlantic
Best Business Class Airline: Top Nominees: British Airways, Emirates, Etihad Airways, Qatar Airways, Turkish Airlines; WINNER: Emirates
Best City Break Destination in Europe: Top Nominees: Barcelona, Krakow, Lisbon, Paris, Rome; WINNER: Lisbon
Best Destination in North America: Top Nominees: Boston, Chicago, Florida, Las Vegas, New York; WINNER: New York
Best Destination in Asia/Pacific: Top Nominees: Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam; WINNER: Thailand
Best Sun Holiday Destination: Top Nominees: Croatia, Greece, Italy, Lanzarote, Portugal; WINNER: Lanzarote
Best Ferry Company: Top Nominees: Brittany Ferries, Irish Ferries, Stena Line; WINNER: Irish Ferries
Best River Cruise Company: Top Nominees: AMA Waterways, CroisiEurope, Riviera Travel, Uniworld, Viking River Cruises; WINNER: Uniworld
Best Ocean Cruise Company: Top Nominees: Cunard, Fred Olsen Cruise Lines, MSC Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean International; WINNER: MSC Cruises
Best Luxury Ocean Cruise Company: Top Nominees: Celebrity Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Oceania Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Silversea Cruises; WINNER: Silversea Cruises
Best Car Rental Company: Top Nominees: Affordable Car Hire, Avis, Flexible Autos, Hertz, Your Car Hire; WINNER: Hertz
Best Rail Company: Top Nominees: Eurostar, Iarnród Éireann, Oui-sncf, Railshop.ie; WINNER: Railshop.ie
Best National Tourist Office: Top Nominees: Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Visit USA; WINNER: Spain
Best Accommodation Provider: Top Nominees: Bedsonline, Bookabed, Expedia TAAP, Globe Hotels, Stuba; WINNER: Bookabed
Best Sun Tour Operator: Top Nominees: Croatia Tours, G Adventures, Sunway, Topflight, TUI Ireland; WINNER: Sunway
Best Ski Tour Operator: Top Nominees: Club Med, Crystal Ski, Topflight, Travel Solutions; WINNER: Topflight
Best Escorted Tour Operator: Top Nominees: G Adventures, Insight Vacations, Intrepid Travel, Riviera Travel, Wendy Wu Tours; WINNER: Insight Vacations
Best Long Haul Operator: Top Nominees: Carib Tours, Classic Resorts, Discover Travel, Sunway, Travel Focus; WINNER: Travel Focus
Best Agency Support / Training Programme: Top Nominees: Amadeus, Bookabed, MSC Cruises, Royal Caribbean International, Travelport; WINNER: Travelport
Best Familiarisation Trip: Top Nominees: Bookabed, Sunway, Topflight, Uniworld, Wendy Wu Tours; WINNER: Wendy Wu Tours