Airline CEO Willie Walsh was honoured at the Irish Tourism Industry Awards, receiving the 2019 Special Recognition Award for his contribution to Irish tourism.
The awards are organised by the Irish Tourism Industry Confederation (ITIC), Fáilte Ireland and Tourism Ireland, and recognise people companies and organisations that have made significant contributions to improving visitor experiences in Ireland. The awards take place every two years.
75 finalists were shortlisted across 15 categories, with the Gleneagle Group winning Best Innovative Place to Stay and Galway Food Tours winning Best Food / Beverage Experience. The full list of winners can be found at www.irishtourismindustryawards.ie.
The Gleneagle Group had already made history in the hospitality industry in July 2018, by becoming the first business in the world to be accredited by the European Network for Accessible Tourism.
Presenter Kathryn Thomas hosted the gala evening, which took place in Dublin at the Clayton Hotel Burlington Road and was attended by Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross T.D., who presented the awards.
Minister Shane Ross said: “I am delighted to acknowledge the hard work and success of all companies at this evening’s event. Our successful tourism figures go hand-in-hand with the quality of the Irish tourism and hospitality industry.”
Receiving the Special Recognition award, Willie Walsh said: “I am honoured by this special recognition and thank ITIC and the Irish Tourism Industry Awards without whom the success of the industry would not be continuously encouraged and celebrated, as it is this evening.”
CEO of ITIC, Eoghan O’Mara Walsh, commented about the event, saying: “The Irish tourism industry is worth an estimated €9.2bn annually and employs 270,000 people right around the country. It is Ireland’s largest indigenous industry and is a massive asset to our economy. With the uncertainty of Brexit and the impact that may be felt, it is imperative that our Government continues to support the sector, so that we can ensure success for many years to come.”