Liam Lonergan of Club Travel was last night declared the ‘Irish Travel Industry Entrepreneur of the Year’ in the award scheme introduced this year by the Association of Foreign Airlines, the Irish Tour Operators Federation, and ‘Irish Travel Trade News’.
The Award was presented at the inaugural Irish Travel Industry Christmas Party, endorsed by the three Irish travel agents’ consortia – Travel Centres, Travelsavers and Worldchoice – and attended by 300 representatives of the Irish travel industry. The three finalists for the Award were CarTrawler, Club Travel and Clubs to Hire.
Earlier this month Club Travel celebrated its 40th anniversary. The company, which was established by Liam Lonergan in 1971, initially traded as a tour operator, and is the original Irish specialist in consolidated, cheap and discount airfares.
Club Travel has since grown to be the largest travel management company in Ireland, currently with 125 staff and with a mix of business including consolidation, retail, corporate travel management, and brands such as HRG Ireland, Budget Travel and Destinations.
Ronan Flood, Managing Editor of Irish Travel Trade News, said: “We are delighted that the Irish travel industry has come together for this inaugural event and that the two major supplier organisations, the Association of Foreign Airlines and the Irish Tour Operators Federation, have joined us in selecting the very first ‘Irish Travel Industry Entrepreneur of the Year’. The ITTN team congratulates Liam Lonergan and all his team at Club Travel on their success.”
Ireland’s Favourite Travel Agent
The event, held in the Burlington Hotel, Dublin, also saw Blackrock, Co Dublin based travel agency Sunway Travel again voted ‘Ireland’s Favourite Travel Agent’ in the award scheme organised by ‘Irish Travel Trade News’ and launched by host Ryan Tubridy on RTÉ’s The Late Late Show on 21st October. Votes were cast online by the travelling public all over Ireland and nominations were independently audited by Grant Thornton.
Tanya Airey, Managing Director of Sunway Travel, was present to receive the prize of a trip for two to Chiang Mai and Phuket in Thailand, courtesy of the Tourism Authority of Thailand and Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas.
20th Irish Travel Trade Awards
The Sunway Group also won one of the 22 Irish Travel Trade Awards presented at last night’s event, being voted ‘Best Long Haul Tour Operator’ by retail travel agents throughout Ireland, North and South.
Two companies each won two awards: Etihad Airways ‘Best Long Haul Airline’ and ‘Best Business Class Airline’, while Amadeus was awarded ‘Best Travel Technology Provider’ and the new category of ‘Best Agent Friendly Supplier’.
The ‘Best Airline to Europe’ Award was won by Aer Lingus and United was voted ‘Best Airline to North America’. Spain was declared the ‘Best Sun Destination’, Australia won the Award for ‘Best Asia / Pacific Destination’, and Thomas Cook Holidays was voted ‘Best Sun Holiday Tour Operator’.
All travel agents who submitted valid voting forms were entered into a prize draw and the winner of the Travel Agents Voters Prize of a holiday for two in Malta, courtesy of the Malta Tourism Authority, was Gearoid Lynch of Mallow Travel.
2011 IRISH TRAVEL TRADE AWARDS WINNERS:
Irish Travel Industry Entrepreneur
of the Year: Liam Lonergan, Club Travel
Ireland’s Favourite Travel Agent: Sunway Travel
Travel Agent Voter of the Year: Gearoid Lynch, Mallow Travel
Best Europe Destination: Spain
Best North America Destination: New York
Best Middle East / Africa Destination: Dubai
Best Asia / Pacific Destination: Australia
Best Sun Holiday Tour Operator: Thomas Cook Holidays
Best Ski Tour Operator: Topflight
Best Niche Tour Operator: One Stop Touring Shop
Best Long Haul Tour Operator: Sunway
Best Airline to Europe: Aer Lingus
Best Airline to North America: United
Best Long Haul Airline: Etihad Airways
Best Business Class Airline: Etihad Airways
Best Ferry Company: Irish Ferries
Best Cruise Company (3/4 Star): Thomson Cruises
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: Holiday Taxis
Best Accommodation Provider: Bookabed.ie
Best National Tourist Office: Spanish Tourism Office
Best Travel Technology Provider: Amadeus
Best Agent Friendly Supplier: Amadeus