— Ceremony marks 2013 as banner year for Irish tourism —
MORRISTOWN, NJ— February 10, 2014 — Dublin Castle was the ideal setting for CIE Tours International’s 24th Annual Awards of Excellence that crowned 80 Irish hotels and visitor attractions with well deserved recognition. On Tuesday, January 28, Ireland’s Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Michael Ring, presented plaques to the winners – hotels, restaurants and visitor attractions – all of whom received consistent high praise in surveys of 28,000 customers. The awards ceremony marked the end of a phenomenal year for Irish tourism, helped in no small measure by The Gathering, a nationwide effort to bring the Irish diaspora – and anyone else who feels the pull toward this ancient land – back home.
“Business was up 20% in 2013,” says Brian Stack, Managing Director of CIE Tours International, giving credit to the efforts of The Gathering, which pulled in an estimated 4,500 additional visitors to CIE Tours, generating revenue in the neighborhood of $9.5 million. Confidence is booming – and hopes for continued and even increased success in 2014 is on everyone’s radar.
Ireland has always been an alluring place to visit – and now getting there has never been easier. Increased air access from the West Coast, as well as from Canada and Australia (via global hubs in the Middle East) has made Irish travel simpler. Mr. Ring, the Irish tourism minister, notes that U.S.-to-Ireland air capacity is set to rise more than 10% this year – after a 25% increase in 2013. Canadian access is up 71%.
Getting people to Ireland is one thing; making sure their visit surpasses expectations and win raves is another – and CIE Tours, one of the largest purchasers of tourism services across the country – has made it a practice to monitor feedback. Says Mr. Stack, “CIE Tours brought 30,000 visitors to the Cliffs of Moher, 17,000 to Bunratty, 20,000 to the Guinness Storehouse and 13,000 to the Titanic exhibition in Belfast.” That kind of volume translates into a great ability to fine-tune the visitor experience so it remains top-notch and a consistent value for the money.
Overall Category Winners — Gold Awards
Best 5 star hotel Killarney Park Hotel, Kerry
Best 4 star hotel Ashling Hotel, Dublin
Best 3 star hotel International Hotel Killarney
Best Hotel Accommodation Conrad Hotel Dublin
Best Hotel Dinner Cabra Castle Hotel, Cavan
Best Hotel Service and Hospitality Granville Hotel, Waterford
Best B&B / Farmhouse Applecroft House, Killarney, Co Kerry
Best Event Dinner / Entertainment The Merry Ploughboy, Dublin
Special Dinner Feature Killeen House Hotel, Killarney, Co Kerry
Best Tour Feature Brendan Ferris – Sheep Dog Trials
Best Walking tour Ronan McNamara – Derry Walking Tours
Best Visit Slieve League Cliffs, Donegal
All CIE Tours’ escorted vacations are all-inclusive, encompassing airport transfers; deluxe motorcoach transportation; luxury hotel accommodations, taxes and porterage fees; and all admission fees; as well as most meals, special attractions and evening entertainment. Additionally, CIE Tours’ expert tour directors and local guides help bring each destination to life, providing travelers aged eight and older with authentic travel experiences that continue to resonate long after their return home. For more information about itineraries and travel incentives, or to reserve a tour, call CIE Tours International at 1-800-243-8687 or visit www.cietours.com.
About CIE Tours International
For more than 82 years, CIE Tours International of Morristown, NJ has set the standard for fully escorted motorcoach tours of Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales. This renowned tour operator delivers unsurpassed experiences and value for both packaged vacations and custom independent travel, combining the best of each destination with expert professional tour guides who bring each itinerary to life. All CIE Tours travel programs are protected by the company’s $550+ Advantage, a no-fee benefit guaranteeing that travelers are never charged for special features considered optional extras with other tour companies. For additional information, please contact 1-800-243-8687 or visit www.cietours.com.
Contact: Don Miller
516-629-3286 or 516-330-1647 (cell)