Friday night heralded the coming of Christmas for the Irish travel industry, with 350 industry representatives enjoying the 26th Irish Travel Trade Awards Gala Dinner, with RTÉ presenter Keelin Shanley as MC and dancing group Slide Step with the LED Drummers giving a powerful performance. Next year’s event will again take place at the Clayton Hotel Burlington Road, Dublin 4, on Friday 23rd November 2018.
The evening began with attendees being welcomed by singer Stella and her pianist. After dinner the guests were entertained by a powerful performance by Slide Step and LED Drummers, followed by a DJ.
The evening was particularly good for the winners of 54 prizes awarded – the ITTN Industry Achievement Award, the ITTN Travel Agency of the Year Awards, the ITTN+EMIRATES Travel Photographer of the Year Awards, 26 Irish Travel Trade Awards, the ITTN Voter’s Prize, 13 Raffle Prizes including air tickets and holidays for two, and the Best Social Media Post prize.
Welcoming his guests, Ronan Flood, Managing Director, Advantage Group, publishers of Irish Travel Trade News and organisers of the Irish Travel Trade Awards, said: “These awards have always been a much sought after accolade by travel industry suppliers – because they are voted by you, Irish travel agents North and South, and because they are independently audited by Grant Thornton.
“This event would not be possible without the generosity and participation of our four Headline Sponsors – Emirates, Hertz, Spanish Tourist Office, and Tourism Malaysia – and our 12 Sponsors – Air Canada, Amadeus, Amazing Thailand, Clayton Hotels, Cork Airport, Grant Thornton, Las Vegas CVA, Salou Tourist Board, Shannon Airport, Silversea, TUI Ireland, and Uniworld, with the Spanish Tourist Office organising sponsorship of the wines and cava. I thank them all very much indeed for their essential support in staging this event.”
Irish Travel Trade News
He then posed the question, “What is Irish Travel Trade News?” which Sarah Slattery, ITTN, answered with “ITTN is the premier travel trade multi-channel media in Ireland” and vividly demonstrated why by showing a video that features 30 photographs entered into this year’s ITTN+EMIRATES Travel Photographer of the Year competition.
The video can be viewed on YouTube at: https://youtu.be/rKV2Pu1O4lk
MC Keelin Shanley
Ronan Flood then introduced the Gala Dinner’s MC for the evening, RTÉ journalist and presenter Keelin Shanley. “After studying biochemistry in Trinity College Dublin, your MC switched to broadcasting and journalism, presenting several science and technology TV and radio shows. Over 10 years she made a number of award-winning documentaries for RTÉ’s Prime Time, and has presented on budget and election programmes, Morning Edition, The Consumer Show, and Morning Ireland, to name but a few.
“You will be seeing her on screen even more from January next when she begins presenting RTÉ’s Six One News.”
Sunway was again a big winner this year, collecting three category awards for ‘Best Sun Holiday Tour Operator’, ‘Best Long Haul Tour Operator’, and ‘Best Agency Friendly Company’. Sunway is also an agent for G Adventures, which won the ‘Best Adventure Holiday Tour Operator’ award.
Joanne Madden, Travelport, was declared ‘Best Agent Friendly Individual’, and the newly introduced ‘Best Use of Social Media’ award was won by Royal Caribbean International, which also won ‘Best Ocean Cruise Company’.
In other categories, Aer Lingus and Emirates each won two airline awards, Amazing Thailand retained its ‘Best Destination in Asia/Pacific’ title, and long-time title-winner Topflight retained the ‘Best Ski Tour Operator’ award, which it had regained from Crystal Ski last year.
Irish Travel Trade News will be making a donation to its charity partner for 2017, AADI (Autism Assistance Dogs Ireland), from the proceeds of the event.