HomeTravel NewsInaugural Irish Tourism Industry Awards for Gala Dinner in April 2015

Inaugural Irish Tourism Industry Awards for Gala Dinner in April 2015

The Irish Tourism Industry Awards 2015, the first ever national scheme to identify and celebrate those leading lights that are making a difference in the tourism industry and actively contributing to recent growth in the sector, were launched on Tuesday 11th November, with the winners to be announced at a Gala Dinner in Dublin on Friday 24th April 2015.

Announcing the inaugural Irish Tourism Industry Awards 2015 were Niall Gibbons, Chief Executive, Tourism Ireland; Eamonn McKeon, Chief Executive, Irish Tourist Industry Confederation; Michael Ring TD, Minister of State for Tourism and Sport; and Shaun Quinn, Chief Executive, Fáilte Ireland
Announcing the inaugural Irish Tourism Industry Awards 2015 were Niall Gibbons, Chief Executive, Tourism Ireland; Eamonn McKeon, Chief Executive, Irish Tourist Industry Confederation; Michael Ring TD, Minister of State for Tourism and Sport; and Alex Connolly, Fáilte Ireland


The Awards – already dubbed the ‘ITAs’ – are organised and presented by the Irish Tourist Industry Confederation, ITIC’s industry members, Fáilte Ireland, and Tourism Ireland, and seek to identify those players in the tourism sector who have made a difference and are setting an example for the rest of the industry. They aim to reward innovation in tourism, significant initiatives at home and overseas, and the best examples of improvement to the tourism experience.

Tourism businesses throughout the country and overseas are being invited to apply and submit their examples under 11 different categories (see below for more detail) and the ultimate winners will be selected by a panel of experts chaired by Maurice Pratt, Chairman of the Uniphar Group, who also previously chaired the last national policy review for tourism.

Full details of the awards and application process are available at www.irishtourismindustryawards.ie

Organisers’ Comments

Eamonn McKeon, ITIC Chief Executive, said: “The industry is delighted to be partnering with the tourism agencies in presenting these awards, which will recognise success, leadership, and innovation in Ireland’s tourism industry. The awards will honour those who have made a dramatic impact for their respective area, by showcasing Ireland’s best tourism products, services and experiences, as well as acknowledging outstanding overseas marketing initiatives.”

Niall Gibbons, Chief Executive, Tourism Ireland, said: “Tourism Ireland is delighted to support the inaugural Irish Tourism Industry Awards. This is a wonderful opportunity to acknowledge and applaud the outstanding contribution of our colleagues in the tourism industry, at home and overseas, who have worked so hard to help build tourism into the success it is today. Our tourism industry is indeed a positive story. For a small island on the edge of Western Europe, we have punched well above our weight, in terms of growth and market share, and we aim to continue this success.

“Tourism is now one of our most important indigenous industries, worth about €5 billion to the economy each year, and it is vital that we consolidate and build on this, in 2015 and beyond.”

Shaun Quinn, Chief Executive, Fáilte Ireland, said: “Fáilte Ireland is very happy to support these awards and we are particularly pleased with the emphasis on innovation and the visitor experience. I am always very impressed with the way that tourism businesses rigorously keep their focus on the customer and there are some great examples out there of individual businesses that have raised the bar to ensure that the visitor experience of Ireland is one not only to remember but also to share and recommend to others.

“I am sure that we will identify many great case studies in excellence out there who can point the way ahead to their tourism peers and to the wider business community.”

Special Theme Award

It is envisaged that the Irish Tourism Industry Awards will be held every two years and, in addition to rewarding best tourism practice, it is planned that each event will have a special themed award that responds to a particular topic for that year. For the inaugural Irish Tourism Industry Awards, this will be Irish Design 2015 to showcase the best of Irish design at home and internationally and this aspect will be co-ordinated by the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland, which is also designing the ‘ITAs’.

To mark the importance of this theme, there will be a special ‘Best Design in Tourism’ award to encourage all tourism operators to consider design as a mechanism to add value in the development of new products, services or visitor experiences. In addition to receiving this award, the eventual winner will be offered the services of a designer to work with them for six months on a particular project.

Award Categories

For the 2015 Awards there are 11 awards in three principal categories:

  • International Initiatives (2)
  • Tourism Innovations (4)
  • Tourism Experiences (5)

International Initiatives:

  • Best International Marketing Initiative
  • Best International Access Initiative

Tourism Innovations:

  • Best Leisure Tourism Innovation
  • Best Business Tourism Innovation
  • Best Environmental Tourism Innovation
  • Best Local Authority Tourism Innovation

Tourism Experiences:

  • Best Festival / Event Experience
  • Best Adventure Experience
  • Best Food Experience
  • Best Cultural Experience
  • Best Urban Experience

Special Theme Award:

  • Best Design in Tourism


The event is being co-ordinated by the Irish Tourist Industry Confederation with considerable support from Fáilte Ireland and Tourism Ireland. Significant support is also being provided by Aer Lingus, CIE Tours International, Cork Airport, Guinness Storehouse, Incoming Tour Operators Association – Ireland, Irish Ferries, Irish Hotels Federation, and Shannon Airport Group.

Judging Panel

The judging panel comprises:

  • Panel Chair: Maurice Pratt, Chairman, Uniphar Group (and chair of Tourism Ireland’s Central Marketing Partnership Group)
  • Breege O’Donoghue, Company Director, Penney’s/Primark
  • Karen Erwin, Founder & Principal, Erwin Mediation Services
  • Pól Ó Conghaile, Travel Writer & Journalist/Contributing Editor, Independent Travel
  • Kara McCoy, Online Manager of Advanced Aggregators and Hotel Travel, Google Ireland.


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