After a two-year hiatus due to the covid-19 pandemic, senior representatives of Ireland’s tourism sector came together to, once again, celebrate the diversity and richness of experiences offered by Irish tourism at the CIE Tours annual Awards of Excellence.
Launched in 1990, the Awards recognise Ireland’s hospitality ambassadors – the people and businesses throughout the country who put Irish tourism on the global stage through the warmth of welcome and quality of service provided to our international visitors. CIE Tours, which celebrates 91 years in business is the largest operator of guided tours to Ireland in the North American market, bringing over 25,000 visitors here last year.
Glendalough Visitor Centre received a merit award in the visitor attraction category. Merit Awards are presented to hotels and visitor attractions who achieved a customer satisfaction rating of 92% or higher from CIE Tours visitors to Ireland in 2022.
This year’s awards are presented based on post-stay feedback received from nearly 20,000 customers surveyed throughout 2022.
Speaking at the presentation of CIE Tours Annual Awards of Excellence Elizabeth Crabill, CEO said; “The Irish holiday experience is unique, and its popularity is very evident in the strong rebound we witnessed once international travel re-opened following the pandemic. I want to acknowledge the resilience of our tourism partners who, having had a very difficult few years, enthusiastically welcomed back our visitors once restrictions were lifted. Your professionalism is reflected in the feedback from our visitors and in these Awards this evening. Overall satisfaction levels in 2022 were only slightly less than 2019 despite a very challenging year for travel.
“We are very encouraged by the pipeline of bookings for the coming year, which are ahead of expectations, and we look forward to ensuring that our partners and our host communities continue to benefit from our success in attracting visitors to travel with us to Ireland”.
Ms Crabill said that as one of the longest established tour operators in Ireland, CIE Tours is well placed to help Ireland capitalise on the growing interest in sustainable and responsible tourism. Citing a recent Expedia survey which showed that consumers are increasingly seeking ways to have more conscientious travel experiences and options to support local culture and communities within a destination, she pointed to CIE Tours’ 91-year track record of bringing visitors to high quality tourism destinations in rural locations, where visitors have a rich experience gaining an understanding of local culture.
“Our itineraries visit many rural areas of Ireland and over many years we have helped local tourism operators to survive and thrive, creating valuable local employment. With our experience and knowledge, we can be a strong partner in to Fáilte Ireland in achieving its ambition to develop Ireland as a high-quality tourism destination that facilitates a healthy and sustainable industry, while having positive impacts on host communities, and contributing to the preservation and enhancement of the environment.” she said.
“As we develop and implement realistic and meaningful sustainability actions and behaviours, we are committed to working closely with our partners because it is their businesses which are facing first-hand the changing dynamics of tourism, the cash-flow concerns of seasonality, and the climate change impact on local communities and natural spaces. It is encouraging that so many have already begun their own sustainability journeys and together we can build an even stronger sector with responsible tourism at its core”.
Ms Crabill concluded by warmly congratulating this year’s winners of a CIE Tours Award of Excellence on their achievements and thanked all the company’s partners who work closely with CIE Tours throughout the year.
Pictured above: L to R: Elizabeth Crabill, CEO, CIE Tours, Stephen Cotter, COO, CIE Tours pictured with Eamon Neenan ad Aodán Clarke, Glendalough Visitor Centre