Junior Chamber International Galway last night presented the Ambassador Awards 2008 at a reception hosted by Martine’s Restaurant and Wine Bar on Quay Street. The awards, sponsored by Niall McNelis of Claddagh and Celtic Jewellers are part of JCI Galway's 2008 free tourist guide, with some 60,000 copies distributed earlier this year.
Visitors to Galway were invited to nominate establishments from the JCI Galway City and County Tourist Guide 2008, which they felt provided them with outstanding service. There were a number of categories and the award winners were Tigh Neachtain for Best Bar; Park House for Best Restaurant; Best City Accommodation went to the Clayton Hotel; The Lady Gregory Hotel won the Best County Accommodation; Roundstone Music Craft and Fashion won the Best Shop; Best Tourist Attraction went to Kylemore Abbey and Gardens; Healy Tours won the Best Transport category; Spiddal Angling won Best Leisure Activity; and Best Entertainment Award went to Galway Arts Festival.
JCI Galway had the input of Anne Melia, regional tourism development officer, Fáilte Ireland; Paul Gill, president Irish Hotels Federation; Bernie Ní Flahartha, Connacht Tribune; Val Hanley, president of Irish Vintners’ Association; and Philip Byrne, co-chair JCI Galway City and County Tourist Guide 2008, to choose such worthy winners from the nominations provided.
“This is a great way to recognise those throughout the city and county that give that little bit more to our visitors,” said Evelyn Cormican, president of JCI Galway. “It could be driving them into town because it’s raining, telling tall stories and making everyone laugh while pulling a pint, organising a babysitter, or being able to find a translator. The real heroes of making tourism a success in the city and county are sometimes forgotten.”
Niall McNelis from Claddagh and Celtic Jewellery Company, who sponsored the awards, commented that Galway is one of the few places that is holding its own in tourism. “In the current climate it is now more important than ever that we continue to strive to provide a quality product and value for money to our tourists,” he said. “These awards are an excellent way to encourage and motivate businesses to continue to provide a quality product to tourists. We are looking forward to being involved in these awards and helping them to grow in future years.”