Elizabeth Crabill, CEO, CIE Tours and Fiona Ross, Chair, CIE Tours pictured with Michelle Butler, Kinsale Hotel and Spa.

Cork duo honoured at tourism excellence awards

Two Cork hospitality businesses recently were awarded for their quality of service at the CIE Tours annual Awards of Excellence.

After a two-year hiatus, senior representatives of Ireland’s tourism sector came together to celebrate the diversity and richness of experiences offered by Irish tourism at the event.

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 is the largest operator of guided tours to Ireland in the North American market, bringing over 25,000 visitors here last year.

Kinsale Hotel and Spa received a merit award in the hotel category while Blarney Castle also received a merit award in the visitor attraction category.

Elizabeth Crabill, CEO of CIE Tours 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.”

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.

“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.