The 21st Irish Travel Trade Awards, the industry’s ‘Oscars’, were announced and presented at last Friday night’s Irish Travel Industry Christmas Party at the Burlington Hotel, Dublin. The Gala Dinner event was a huge success, creating a ‘great buzz’ among the 350 attendees in the beautifully decorated ballroom, writes Neil Steedman, News and Features Editor of Irish Travel Trade News.
The Headline Sponsor for the event was Emirates, whose Country Manager – Ireland, Margaret Shannon, said: “The trade has always enjoyed this event – it is one of the highlights of the year and it is a happy coincidence that this is Emirates’ first year in Ireland and the Irish Travel Trade Awards’ 21st year. The Awards bring excitement and glamour, a chance to dress up and network, and are a great occasion.”
Yvonne Muldoon of United was not revealing any sign of jetlag, despite having only just returned from leading an Irish media trip to Washington DC. “We are delighted to be involved as a sponsor with the Irish Travel Trade Awards,” she said. “I have great respect for Irish Travel Trade News for being able to put these Awards together over the past 21 years.
“This event is the landmark of awards ceremonies for the year and gives everybody this fantastic opportunity to come together in a relaxed way and to reflect on a challenging year. This is the biggest and main event of the year – and is THE event to be at! It is so nice to meet friends and colleagues and customers. I congratulate Irish Travel Trade News for bringing us 21 years of the Irish Travel Trade Awards!”
Ciaran Mulligan of Blue Insurances – prior to winning the Entrepreneur of the Year Award and Best Travel Insurance Company Award! – said: “The Irish Travel Trade Awards are very important to Blue Insurances. They are great fun and Blue have made a lot of good friends over the years, who started and remain clients. Insurance is a boring business generally otherwise, so it’s a great antidote to come to the Irish Travel Trade Awards – and we are always delighted when we win an award!”
Lorraine Quinn of Royal Caribbean International said: “As always, it is a pleasure attending the event to meet up with old and new friends in the industry and to celebrate the achievements of everyone’s hard work throughout the year. The venue was great and huge thanks go to Irish Travel Trade News and the Burlington teams for yet another great night.”
Annabel Cove of DoSomethingDifferent.com said: “What a brilliant event the Irish Travel Trade Awards was last Friday. I had huge fun and so did my guests. It was a fabulous finale to the work we have put into the Irish market since our launch in May – and what better way to finish than with our 500th handshake on the night!”
Reporting on the Awards in the following day’s Evening Herald, Travel Editor Mark Evans wrote: “Forget the gloom – there was plenty of glitz as the Irish travel industry’s beautiful people celebrated the best operators in the business. And last night’s Irish Travel Trade News Awards at the Burlington were every bit as glamorous as anything from the West End or Hollywood.”
Once the prizes were distributed, awards presented, photos taken and the meal completed, it was time for the disco and dancing to commence in the ballroom, while a jazz band entertained in the lounge area beside the bar.
The official finishing time was 2.00am and I was in bed soon after, but by accounts received the following morning over breakfast in the Burlington, and from various Facebook postings (including one from Lillies VIP Lounge in the early hours!) the celebrations continued on for several more hours … and I did notice that it was 05.03 when Gearoid Lynch of Mallow Travel, winner of One Stop Touring Shop’s Best Dressed Window competition, posted the message: “Unreal night. Just go bedie byes. Thanks lads – 200% great night, from the window shoppers.”