Ruth Andrews, ITOA Chief Executive, appointed as new Chairperson of ITIC – Irish Tourism Industry Confederation

Ruth Andrews accepted the position of Chairperson at the ITIC 2019 AGM, taking over the role from out-going Chairman Maurice Pratt.  Having served on the board of ITIC for four years, and as Vice-Chair for the past two years, she acknowledged Maurice’s commitment and work over the past two years, representing the Tourism Industry and delivering the Industries 2025 Strategy for Tourism.

‘I am very honoured to accept this position and look forward to continuing the great work that Maurice, the board and executive have done in developing a road map for the Irish tourism industry as provided by the 2025 Strategy.  The industry has flourished and experienced unprecedented growth particularly in the past three years and we must stay focused on ensuring the continued success and growth of this important indigenous export industry.  Through our success we have and continue to deliver the most jobs of any other sector with 1 in every 10 jobs being in tourism nationally.  However there is no time for complacency and we must ensure that the Government continues to deliver policies that enable the industry to prosper’.

She thanked Cormac O’Connell, daa for accepting the position of Vice-Chairman and welcome new members of the board including Darren Byrne, ITOA, Con Quill, Irish Caravan & Camping Council, Nick Mottram, Irish Ferries, Michael Lennon, IHF, joined by existing board members Dara McMahon, Aer Lingus and Adrian Cummins, Restaurants Association of Ireland.

Vagabond Tours – Best Ireland’s Ancient East Tourism Experience

ITOA Members – Winners at the Irish Tourism Industry Awards 2019

ITOA members were again strong contenders and recipients at this year’s Irish Tourism Industry Awards.  Winners in three of the 15 categories were;

Vagabond Tours – Best Ireland’s Ancient East Tourism Experience – Under 25,000 Visitors

Odyssey International DMC – Best Meet In Ireland Business Tourism Innovation

Vagabond Tours – Best Environmental Tourism Innovation

Competition was strong on all three categories.  Odyssey International DMC’s managing director Kevin Shannon said;

‘this award is for an incentive programme that we managed last August for 2,700 participants.  Many said this couldn’t be done in Ireland but I am delighted to say that it was hugely successful with a 99% satisfaction rating from the clients.  This award is a real endorsement of our team in Odyssey International DMC and Ireland’s ability to create world class incentive programmes.’

In accepting both awards on the evening and as winners at the last two year’s events, Vagabond Tours, Rob Rankin said;

‘we were thrilled to receive the first award this evening for the IAE best experience but to also win Best Environmental Tourism Innovation is very special.  The entire team in Vagabond are very committed to environmental sustainability and we have worked really hard over the past couple of years to ensure that we and our suppliers work together to play our part in respecting Ireland’s green, clean environment and ensuring that we protect it for our visitors to enjoy for years to come, mindful also that we respect the locals and their ability to live in harmony with holiday makers visiting their communities’.

Other ITOA member finalists included:

Abbey Conference & Events

EI Travel Group

Moloney & Kelly Travel

 

ITOA Members Get Down to Business in Northern Ireland

The Incoming Tour Operators Association (ITOA) of Ireland, in partnership with Tourism NI, hosted its first ever business-to-business workshop to be held in Northern Ireland at the Titanic Hotel Belfast on November 13th. The event was part of the Associations plans to mark the 40th Year of the Association.

The Belfast workshop saw over 750 appointments take place in one afternoon between 30 ITOA member companies and 95 delegates from 80 companies representing the Northern Ireland tourism industry.

Speaking about the event, Darren Byrne, President of the ITOA said:

“As part of a series of events to mark our 40th anniversary, we were delighted to bring an ITOA workshop to Northern Ireland for the first time thanks to a successful partnership with Tourism NI.“

“These highly successful promotional events provide tourism businesses seeking to increase overseas visitors, leisure or business tourists with the opportunity to meet Ireland’s largest and long-established Tour Operators, Handling Agents and Destination Management Companies at one event, in one afternoon.”

“To see such a high turnout for our first ever Northern Ireland workshop sends out a clear message as to the important contribution of the organisation in facilitating the promotion of tourism in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland in overseas markets.”

Following a packed schedule of networking appointments at the Titanic Hotel delegates enjoyed a gala dinner at the Crumlin Road Gaol this evening including a showcase of local food and entertainment.

Commenting on the event, Naomi Waite, Tourism NI Director of Marketing said:

“Networking opportunities such as the ITOA workshop offer the Northern Ireland tourism industry a unique opportunity to tap into a global distribution network by dealing directly with those who package and promote tourism products across Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland to the overseas market.”

“In 2017 we welcomed record visitor numbers of nearly five million people, who contributed an unprecedented £926m in visitor spend. While we are enjoying a lot of success in Northern Ireland, we are ambitious to grow and develop tourism even further, and to do this we must look towards international markets.”

Watch more about the event here

WINNERS ALL RIGHT @ IRISH TOURISM INDUSTRY AWARDS

D Cronin ITOA Presents

Derry Cronin Vice-President ITOA presents the Best Intl. Access Award to Shannon Airport Neil Pakey, with Minister Donohoe.

The in augural Irish Tourism Industry Awards took place on Friday April 24th last.
The event was a terrific success with well over 500 industry professionals attending the glittering Awards Ceremony on Friday night last in the Double Tree By Hilton. An ITIC initiative, the awards were supported in no short measure by ITOA as sponsors and Eamonn McKeon, CX of ITIC acknowledging that the Awards were a hobby horse of Brian McColgan, Chairman of Abbey Tours who advocated its inception through an Industry Steering Group. The organizing committee who worked for many months on creating the awards and ensuring the initiative was such a success in its first year included our own Chief Executive, Ruth Andrews along with industry colleagues, Paul Gallagher (ITIC Incoming Chairperson and IHF), Margaret O’Reilly & Sinead Grace Tourism Ireland, Alex Connolly & Louise Tolerton, Failte Ireland, Aileesh Carew, Irish Design 2015 and Eamonn and Arlene from ITIC. Event Organizers was our own member Advantageico, Ronan and the team who really ensured that it was an inaugural event to remember. But the night belonged to the winners and we are delighted to celebrate the success of ITOA members as follows:


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Vagabond Winners

Best Adventure Experience – Vagabond Adventure Tours

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Best Business Tourism Innovation – Advantage ico Group & Kerry Convention Bureau – Adventure Travel World Summit 2014

Best Business Tourism Innovation – Advantage ico Group & Kerry Convention Bureau – Adventure Travel World Summit 2014

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Best International Marketing Initiative - CIE Tours International

Best International Marketing Initiative – CIE Tours International

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And ITOA members were in no short supply when it came to the list of finalists per category too – Abbey Tours, The Travel Corporation – Brendan Vacations, CIE Tours, Odyssey International and MCI Dublin.

Sue Uda President said “It was a terrific occasion to celebrate tourism and the businesses and people who work so hard to deliver the very best to our visitors. We are very proud of our industry and the timing of the Awards could not have been better. I am particularly proud however that our sector was so well represented and participated so enthusiastically in these National Awards. Congratulations to all of the winners, finalists and entrants and we are looking forward to the 2017 Awards already!”

ITOA WORKSHOPS 2015 – OFF TO A WILD START

IMG_3147ITOA Workshops 2015 got off to a busy and productive start yesterday in Limerick. Just over 220 industry from the length and breadth of the Wild Atlantic Way and beyond attended to meet with all ITOA members. Sue Uda President of ITOA said “we were delighted that so many tourism businesses took the time to come and sell to ITOA members. We were particularly pleased to meet with some new and very interesting businesses, as well as some established businesses that are being innovative and providing new business opportunities.” Sharing the 2014 ITOA Members Business Performance highlights , Sue said that 2014 had been yet another good year for ITOA members with visitor numbers and spend with Irish tourism businesses having continued to grow. What was particularly interest is the marketing/sales activity of ITOA members collectively in 2014 which had increased by just over €1 Million in 2014. “ This investment of just over €8 million is equivalent to 20% of Irelands total marketing investment in 2014 which demonstrates the significant contribution ITOA members make in selling and delivering promotable overseas visitors.”

A Ringing Endorsement at ITOA Limerick Workshop

sephotoMinister for Tourism & Sport Michael Ring visited the ITOA Workshop in the Limerick Strand today where he congratulated the ITOA members and tourism businesses present on their hard work and dedication in delivering the very best experiences to our overseas visitors.

He remarked on the enthusiasm of the tourism industry in promoting the Wild Atlantic Way – “The Wild Atlantic Way is a terrific opportunity to package and promote all of the wonderful areas and product along the Atlantic seaboard and it’s here to stay and will serve the industry well for years to come”.

Sue Uda, President of ITOA thanked Minister Ring for his support of the industry over the past 3 years “we greatly appreciate the support that you, Minister Varadkar and your Government colleagues have given the industry over the past few years.

The industry has played its part in delivering increasing visitor numbers, contributing valuable export earnings into the national economy and creating much needed jobs in areas and regions that haven’t attracted other industry.”

ITOA WORKSHOPS LIMERICK STRAND TODAY

lsOver 250 tourism businesses are speed dating today in Limerick today, meeting all ITOA members to promote and sell their businesses for 2015.  And no doubt the Wild Atlantic Way will be high on the agenda for many of the tourism businesses along the western seaboard as they contract with ITOA members.

President Sue Uda said

“we are delighted to see so many businesses here again with us this year and there’s lots of enthusiasm in the room around the Wild Atlantic Way along which so many of the tourism businesses here today are located.  This has been very well received by our market based partners since its launch last year and we look forward to continuing to promote the experiences that this new product now presents. Of course there are lots of other businesses here from other part of the country who do business with ITOA members every year too.  We will be launching our 2013 Members Business Performance report later this week and its very positive news indeed with ITOA members delivering record visitor numbers to Ireland in 2013 – 467,000 of them who spent almost 400 million in the Irish economy. ITOA members are looking forward to yet another good year from the overseas markets in 2014 but 2015 is already on our minds as we contract with tourism businesses this week both here and in Dublin.”

Neil Pakey, Chief Executive of Shannon Airport will speak at the ITOA Workshop event later today sharing the good news of additional schedules into the airport this year and plans for the airports future.

Irish Welcome Tours – Wild About Atlantic Way

ITOA member Irish Welcome Tours is delighted to announce that the Wild Atlantic Way is featured on a selection of specifically designed car tours on their car touring website www.tourireland.com IWT welcomes the ‘WAW ‘ as a great permanent initiative for the Irish tourism industry and one which will have a lasting legacy for all areas on the route and the island as a whole. http://www.tourireland.com/wildatlanticway/

2014 Budget delivers for tourism

Ministers Noonan and Varadkar delivered for the Tourism Industry yesterday with the announcement of the retention of the 9% VAT rate.  The industry breathed a sigh of relief at the announcement which was first up in the budget and rightly so.  This initiative was introduced in 2011 as part of the stimulus package announced by Minister Varadkar and clearly the Government have recognized that this initiative has worked in delivering 15,000 jobs, building our competitiveness in tourism thus increasing overseas visitor numbers (as seen in recent CSO figures) and has aided recovery at a greater pace than it might have otherwise.  ‘To have altered the VAT rate at this stage would have been detrimental’ says Gerry Nicholls ITOA President.  ‘The Minister has recognized that recovery is fragile and competitiveness is key and therefore taking away a vital component in both of these areas at a time that the industry can move to real growth simply wouldn’t make sense’.  ITOA also greatly welcomed the other initiatives introduced yesterday in abolishing the travel tax from April 01 next and the funding set aside for the development of the Wild Atlantic Way.   ‘Confidence is returning to our industry and the Gathering Ireland 2013 (a tourism industry led initiative) has also played a significant role in delivering for tourism and Ireland Inc, so let’s ensure that we maintain the momentum and deliver more jobs and visitors to Ireland in 2014 and beyond – a lot done but more to do!’ says Gerry Nicholls.

ITOA Welcomes New Trans-Atlantic Aer Lingus Schedules for 2014

Aer-Lingus-Logo

 

Aer Lingus announced the long awaited news of their new routes to San Francisco and Toronto for 2014 today and increased frequency to Shannon airport from Boston (from January 2014) and New York (from March 30).

From March Aer Lingus will operate with five services per week being operated by Airbus A330 wide-body aircraft between Dublin and San Francisco.  A daily direct flight being operated on a Boeing 757 between Dublin and Toronto will operate during the summer season with up to four weekly services operating during the winter.

Increased frequency between Shannon to Boston and New York will be provided by two Boeing 757 aircraft to be based in Shannon.  This increases Aer Lingus’s Tran-Atlantic capacity by 24% in 2014.

ITOA President Gerry Nicholls welcomed the news saying ‘North America is a very important market for our members and our travel trade partners in the market.  We have all experienced the benefit of the new and increased Trans-Atlantic air capacity this year and there is no doubt that these new schedules will auger well for continued growth from North America in 2014.  As an island we are hugely dependant on direct access in order to grow tourism numbers in both leisure and business and there is no doubt that direct non-stop flights will put Ireland more firmly on the map for potential holiday and business tourists in 2014.  We are particularly pleased about the addition of new access from Canada, a market that has perhaps under performed in the past due to the lack of scheduled year round access – this presents wonderful new opportunities for us all in growing Canadian visitors to Ireland.