Friday night heralded the coming of Christmas for the Irish travel industry with 350 industry representatives enjoying the 25th Silver Jubilee Irish Travel Trade Awards Gala Dinner at the Clayton Hotel Burlington Road, Dublin 4, where Irish Travel Trade News launched its new company video.
The video, which features 25 photographs entered into this year’s ITTN+EMIRATES Travel Photographer of the Year competition, can be viewed on YouTube at:
The evening began with attendees being welcomed by Digital Fire Art performers and – yes, it’s true! – walking, talking Christmas trees. At the end of the evening the guests were entertained by six musicians, Retrospect, followed by a DJ.
The evening was particularly good for the winners of 60 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, two ITTN Voter’s Prizes, 19 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 sponsors: Amazing Thailand, Blue Insurance, Clayton Hotels, Cork Airport, Dublin Airport, Emirates, Grant Thornton, Hertz, Las Vegas CVA, Salou Tourist Board, Shannon Airport, Silversea, Sunway+G Adventures, Tourism Malaysia, Turkish Airlines and Wendy Wu Tours, with the Spanish Tourist Office organising sponsorship of the wines and cava by Salou Tourist Board, Bodegas Torres and Vinícola de Nulles. I thank them all very much indeed for their essential support in staging this event.”
Invited to address the audience, Cormac Meehan, President, Irish Travel Agents Association, said: “This is a great occasion – 25 years of the prestigious Irish Travel Trade Awards, recognising all that is good in the Irish travel sector. These Awards are independent and driven by the motive of excellence. Every winner deserves their award, but every winner represents their sector – be it airline, destination, tour operator or travel agent – and has a very heavy load to carry – an expectation of service excellence.”
Sunway was 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’, while the newly introduced ‘Best Adventure Holiday Tour Operator’ was won by G Adventures, for which Sunway is a distributor in Ireland.
Lee Osborne, BookaBed, was declared ‘Best Agent Friendly Individual’, for the second year running, and the ‘Best Newcomer’ award was won by Classic Collection Holidays.
In other categories, Aer Lingus and Emirates each won two airline awards, Amazing Thailand retained its ‘Best Asia / Pacific Destination’ title, and long-time title-holder Topflight re-claimed the ‘Best Ski Tour Operator’ award from last year’s surprise winner, Crystal Ski.
Irish Travel Trade News will be making a donation to its charity partner for 2016, Focus Ireland, from the proceeds of the event.