At a reception in Dublin Castle this week, Minister of State for Tourism and Sport Michael Ring presented plaques to 80 winners at the 24th CIE Tours International Awards of Excellence. Twelve overall category winners (gold awards ) from around the country were chosen according to feedback from 28,000 customers on more than 450 providers of accommodation, dining, tours, and attractions. Silver merit awards were presented to those achieving more than 90 per cent in the surveys.
There were five silver merit award winning hotels from Mayo. The hotels were Ashford Castle, the Clew Bay Hotel, Hotel Westport, and Knockranny House Hotel. Westport House won a silver merit award in the visits category of the awards.
Brian Stack, managing director of CIE Tours International, said: “2013 was another successful year with business up 20 per cent. We booked in the region of 400,000 bed nights in towns and cities across Ireland last year. Our success is due to the efforts of thousands people up and down the country who are focused on providing excellent service. Several factors came together to create this rising tide: The retention of the lower VAT rate, significant increases in air access, and the Tourism Ireland’s strong promotion of Ireland, making it a ‘hot’ destination thanks to The Gathering. We believe we can attribute half of our growth last year to The Gathering. Our estimates indicate that it alone brought in around 4,500 additional visitors on our tours, which generated revenue in the region of seven million euros,” he said. Minister Ring noted” “It’s great to hear confirmation from CIE Tours International of the part played by Government initiatives, particularly The Gathering, in boosting their business. I am confident that the continued retention of the reduced VAT rate and the reduction of the travel tax to nil will produce further growth this year.”