01/10/2008

Accolades For Selling Tourist Ireland Abroad

The hard work of those who market Ireland as a tourist destination abroad has been recognised.

Tourism Ministers from Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland joined forces for the inaugural, 'Ambassadors for Tourism Awards' this week.

The Northern Ireland Tourism Minister Arlene Foster and her Republic of Ireland counterpart, Martin Cullen Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism, attended the first Tourism Ireland annual event at the National Gallery in Dublin.

The awards were initiated by Tourism Ireland to recognise individuals who have made a significant and lasting contribution to the success of overseas tourism to Northern Ireland and to the Republic of Ireland, and who are, above all, outstanding ambassadors for the destination and for the tourism industry.

Catriona Lavery, of NI's Hastings Hotel Group, received the Special Recognition Award specifically for Tourism to Northern Ireland; Jimmy Murphy, of Brendan Worldwide Vacations, was honoured as the 2008 'Ambassador for Tourism'; Bob Moony, from Jurys Doyle Hotels, was awarded the 'Special Recognition Award for his Significant and Lasting Contribution to the Overseas Marketing of Tourism' to the Island of Ireland and Brian McColgan, of Abbey Tours, received 'Special Recognition for Excellence in Overseas Marketing Innovation'.

Congratulating the award recipients, Minister Arlene Foster said: "Overseas tourism has made a significant contribution to the Northern Ireland economy over the past five years with strong growth in visitors from North America adding to a total of over two million visitors last year.

"The growth achieved to date is in no small part due to the hard work and determination of the award winners.

"Their continued promotion of Northern Ireland as a 'must see' destination will help us to achieve our ambitious targets to increase tourist numbers to 2.5 million and grow tourism revenue to £520million by 2011."

Martin Cullen, Irish Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism commented: "It is important to recognise leadership and innovation in every walk of life, and I commend Tourism Ireland for initiating these awards.

"The recipients of these inaugural awards have demonstrated such qualities and have played an important role in the development and success of overseas tourism to the island of Ireland. They have truly been ambassadors for Irish tourism."

Chairman of Tourism Ireland Hugh Friel said: "This is the first time that we have had the opportunity to acknowledge and applaud the outstanding contribution of colleagues in the tourism industry who have worked so hard overseas to help build tourism into the success it is today.

"Tourism is now one of the most important indigenous industries and it is vital that we consolidate and build on this next year and beyond. Delivering almost £3 billion annually for the economies on the island, the benefits of sustained investment in marketing and promotion overseas are clear and, if maintained, will continue to show benefits into the future," he said.

(BMcC)

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