The 2017 Irish Tourism Industry Awards, which recognises and promotes companies and organisations that have made significant contributions to Irish tourism, has been launched by Minister of Transport, Tourism and Sport Shane Ross TD.
The awards, organised by the Irish Tourist Industry Confederation (ITIC) in conjunction with Fáilte Ireland and Tourism Ireland, will be held on 3 February 2017 in Dublin's Doubletree by Hilton hotel. The biennial event will consist of 14 awards available in three main categories, from International Initiatives, Tourism Innovations to Tourism Experiences, with entry being open until 18 November.
Speaking at the launch, Ross said: "I am delighted to launch the Irish Tourism Industry Awards. They celebrate all that is good in the Irish tourism industry. Tourism has performed extremely well in recent times. It is a key aspect of Ireland’s economy as it provides jobs and growth in all parts of the country. It is right that we acknowledge the people and companies that have helped promote tourism."
ITIC chairman Paul Gallagher added: "The Irish Tourism Industry Awards offer an opportunity to celebrate best-practice and excellence in our industry. We must continue pro-tourism policies and investment strategies to ensure sustainable growth."
There will also be a number of other awards for those who have helped boost tourism and increase the number of overseas visitors, judged by an independent panel, including Best International Marketing Initiative, Best International Access Initiative, Best Leisure Tourism Innovation, Best Business Tourism Innovation, Best Environmental Tourism Innovation, Best Local Authority Tourism Innovation, Best Innovative Place to Stay, Best Festival/Event Experience, Best Adventure Experience, Best Food & Beverage Experience, Best Cultural Experience.
Tourism Ireland's CEO Niall Gibbons said: "New and innovative products and tourism experiences are vital to ensure that Irish tourism continues to prosper and the Irish Tourism Industry Awards acts as a brilliant showcase."
Despite the success of Ireland's tourism industry, the ITIC has warned against complacency saying that the decisions taken in the 2017 Budget would be critical to the sector's performance.