• Cyril McAree

Airline CEO Willie Walsh Honoured By Irish Tourism Industry With Special Recognition Award At 2019 I

Airline CEO, Willie Walsh was honoured at the Irish Tourism Industry Awards receiving the 2019 Special Recognition Award for his contribution to Irish tourism. The Awards, organised by the Irish Tourism Industry Confederation (ITIC), Fáilte Ireland and Tourism Ireland, gathered the ‘crème de la crème’ of the Irish tourism industry, announcing 15 winning companies as best in their category from 75 shortlisted finalists. The event encourages, recognises and celebrates excellence in the tourism sector which reflected in a record number of entries across Ireland. Presenter, Kathryn Thomas hosted the gala evening, which took place in Dublin at the Clayton Hotel Burlington Road and was attended by Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross TD, who presented the awards.

Speaking at the event, Minister Shane Ross said: “I am delighted to acknowledge the hard work and success of all companies at this evening’s event. Our successful tourism figures go hand-in-hand with the quality of the Irish tourism and hospitality industry. I would particularly like to thank Tourism Ireland and Fáilte Ireland for their fantastic contribution to these achievements. My congratulations to Willie Walsh on his special recognition and I wish him, and all the award winners, continued success.” Receiving the Special Recognition award, Willie Walsh, said: “I am honoured by this special recognition and thank ITIC and the Irish Tourism Industry Awards without whom the success of the industry would not be continuously encouraged and celebrated, as it is this evening. Tourism is a key sector for the Irish economy and it is only right that there is a national event to acknowledge and celebrate the best companies, operators and initiatives in this vibrant industry. My congratulations to everyone this evening on their awards and continued success, and thank you for this recognition.” Chairman of the Irish Tourism Industry Confederation (ITIC), Maurice Pratt, presenting to Willie Walsh, commented: “As Chair of ITIC and on behalf of the industry, I congratulate Willie Walsh on his significant contribution to Irish tourism. His work as CEO of Aer Lingus, and latterly as CEO of IAG, has been instrumental in delivering positive change to Irish tourism and we are thrilled to recognise that this evening and congratulate him on his achievements.”

CEO of ITIC, Eoghan O’Mara Walsh, commented about the event, saying: “The Irish tourism industry is worth an estimated €9.2 billion annually and employs 270,000 people right around the country. It is Ireland’s largest indigenous industry and is a massive asset to our economy. With the uncertainty of Brexit and the impact that may be felt, it is imperative that our Government continues to support the sector, so that we can ensure success for many years to come.” Award Categories and Winners: Special Recognition Award – Willie Walsh

Best International Marketing Initiative – Pharos Reizen Best Innovative Place to Stay – The Gleneagle Group Best Ireland’s Ancient East Tourism Experience, less than 50,000 visitors – Vagabond Tours of Ireland Best Ireland’s Ancient East Tourism Experience, greater than 50,000 visitors – House of Waterford Crystal Best Entrepreneurial Tourism Innovation – EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum Best Dublin Tourism Experience, greater than 100,000 visitors – Pearse Lyons Distillery Best Dublin Tourism Experience, less than 100,000 visitors – The Little Museum of Dublin Best Meet in Ireland Business Tourism Innovation – Odyssey International DMC Best Food / Beverage Experience – Galway Food Tours Best Environmental Tourism Innovative – Vagabond Tours of Ireland Best Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands Tourism Experience – Lough Key Forest & Activity Park Best Festival / Event Experience – St. Patrick’s Festival Best Wild Atlantic Way Tourism, less than 50,000 visitors – A Taste of West Cork Food Festival Best Wild Atlantic Way Tourism, greater than 50,000 visitors – Cliffs of Moher Best International Access Initiative – Aer Lingus For more information on the Irish Tourism Industry Awards and a full list of the finalists in each category please visit www.irishtourismindustryawards.ie

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