- MSC defeat Royal Caribbean for cruise line award
- First time awards for G Adventures and Wendy Wu
- Joanna Gomez, Louise Dunne and Karen Ray win agent awards
- Tour America and Manning Travel win agency awards
Emirates won best long haul airline for the third successive year having lost to Etihad the previous five years. Turkish won the business class award for the second successive year. Aer Lingus won the airline to North America for the fourth year and remain undefeated in the best airline to Europe category which they won for the eighth year. Hertz won the car hire category for the fifth year in succession.
Joanna Gomez of Travel Focus won the Travel Agent of the year at the annual Irish Travel Industry Awards in the round room in Dublin’s Mansion House.
The Travel Professional corporate award was won by the job-sharing Louise Dunne and Karen Ray of The Travel Broker, based in Clontarf, at a gala awards ceremony compered by Miriam O’Callaghan and attended by 600 trade representatives from Ireland and abroad.
Rebecca Kelly of MSC won the hotly contested Travel Supplier representative of the year award for the fourth time.
MSC also won the supplier support team award it previously won in 2015 and 2016.
Mary McKenna’s Tour America won the large travel agency of the year award for the second time and Des Manning Travel from Kilkenny won the small travel agency.
Marie Grenham Travel in Athlone won the marketing category, while new categories were won by Paul Hackett’s Clickandgo for digital marketing and John Cassidy Travel for bricks-and-mortar agency marketing campaign.
There were some surprise results on the night. The cruise category which has been won by Royal Caribbean since the awards were first established in 2011, went to MSC for the first time. Celebrity won the new premium cruise category and Silversea retained the ultra cruise award.
First time winners in the tour operator category included the John Grehan-headed G Adventures (specialist tour operator) and John Booty-headed Wendy Wu Tours (escorted tour operator).Sunway won the European sun tour operator award for the sixth year in a row.
Portugal beat Spain in the sun destination category for the second year. Spain‘s dominance of the tourist board category continues, winning the award for the seventh time, each year since the award was inaugurated in 2018. Others who remain undefeated in their category since the awards were inaugurated include Irish Ferries in the ferry category, Amadeus in the technology provider category, Lanzarote in the winter sun category, Barcelona in the European city category, New York in the worldwide city category, and Universal Orlando in the theme park category, while Blue Insurance also won for the seventh successive year. Bookabed have won seven of the eight accommodation only awards.
The categories of ski destination and ski tour operator were controversially dropped this year.
All the award winners.Accommodation Only: Bookabed. Shortlisted: Arrow Tours, Bedsonline, Innstant Travel, Travelcube. Previous winners: 2011-2-3-4. Bookabed, 2015 Lowcost, 2016-7 Bookabed.
Airline Long Haul: Emirates, Shortlisted: Aer Lingus, Etihad, Turkish, Virgin. Previous winners: 2011-2-3-4-5 Etihad, 2016-7 Emirates
Airline to Europe: Aer Lingus, Shortlisted: British Airways, KLM, Ryanair, Turkish. Previous winners: 2011-2-3-4-5-6-7 Aer Lingus.
Airline to Europe Business Class: Turkish Airlines. Shortlisted: Air France, British Airways, KLM, SAS. Previous winners: 2015-6 BA, 2017 Turkish.
Airline to N America: Aer Lingus, Shortlisted: British Airways, Delta, United, Virgin. Previous winners: 2011-2 Aer Lingus 2012-3-4 United, 2015-6-7 Aer Lingus.
Car Hire: Hertz. Shortlisted: Affordable Car Hire, Avis, Flexible Car Hire, Your Car Hire. Previous winners: 2011-2-3 Holliday Autos, 2014-5-6-7 Hertz.
City Europe: Barcelona. Shortlisted: Amsterdam, Krakow, Lisbon, Rome. Previous winners: 2011 Barcelona/Paris, 2013-4-5-6-7 Barcelona.
City Worldwide: New York. Shortlisted: Dubai, Hong Kong, Las Vegas, San Francisco. Previous winners: 2011-2-3-4-5-6-7 New York.
Cruise: MSC, Shortlisted: Fred.Olsen, Norwegian, Princess, Royal Caribbean. Previous winners: 2011-2-3-4-5-6-7 Royal Caribbean.
Cruise Premium: Celebrity, Shortlisted: Cunard, Holland America, Oceania, Silversea. New category.
Cruise Specialist: Uniworld, Shortlisted: Ama Waterways, Croisieurope, Riviera Travel, Viking. Previous winners: 2013-4-5-6-7 Uniworld.
Cruise Ultra: Silversea, Shortlisted: Azamara, Crystal, Regent Seven Seas, Seabourn. Previous winners: 2011-2 Celebrity, 2013-4 Silversea; 2015 Celebrity, 2016-7 Silversea.
Destination Summer: Portugal. Shortlisted: Italy, Greece, Lanzarote, Spain. Previous winners: 2011-2 Algarve, 2013-4-5-6 Spain, 2017 Portugal.
Destination Winter: Lanzarote. Shortlisted: Dubai,, Gran Canaria, Las Vegas, Portugal. Previous winners: 2011-2-3-4-5-6-7 Lanzarote.
Ferry Company: Irish Ferries, Shortlisted: Brittany Ferries, Stena Line. Previous winners: 2011-2-3-4-5-6-7 Irish Ferries.
Marketing Campaign Agency: Grenham Travel. Shortlisted: Click & Go, Tour America. Previous winners: 2011 FCm, 2012 Shandon Travel, 2015 Tour America, 2016 Clickandgo, 2017 Tour America. (no award in 2013-4).
Marketing Campaign Digital: Click & Go, Shortlisted: Cassidy Travel, Manning Travel. Previous winners: 2014 Earth’s Edge (website award).
Marketing Campaign Shopfront: Cassidy Travel. Shortlisted: Shandon Travel, Tour America. New category.
Supplier Rep: Rebecca Kelly of MSC. Shortlisted: Audrey Headon of Headon Representation, Thomas McNally of Bedsonline, Lee Osborne of Bookabed, Martin Penrose of If Only. Previous winners: 2013 Lee Osborne of Bookabed, 2014-5-6 Rebecca Kelly of MSC; 2017 Thomas McNally of Bedsonline.
Supplier Support Team: MSC. Shortlisted: Aer Lingus, Bookabed, Emirates, Sunway. Previous winners: 2011-2-3-4 Amadeus, 2015-6 MSC, 2017 Bookabed.
Tech Provider: Amadeus, Shortlisted: Dolphin Dynamics, Proactive Labs, Travelport, Zendesk. Previous winners: 2011-2-3-4-5-6-7 Amadeus.
Theme Park: Universal Orlando. Shortlisted: Disneyland Paris, Portaventura, Tayto Park, Walt Disney World Orlando. Previous winners: 2013-4-5-6-7 Universal Orlando.
Tour Op Escorted: Wendy Wu, Shortlisted: G Adventures, Insight Vacations, Riviera Travel, Sunway. Previous winners: 2013-4-5-6-7 Insight Vacations.
Tour Op European Sun: Sunway. Shortlisted: Classic Collection, Click&Go, Topflight, TUI. Previous winners: 2011 Sunworld, 2012 Thomas Cook, 2013-4-5-6-7 Sunway.
Tour Op Long Haul: Classic Resorts. Shortlisted: If Only, Intrepid Travel, Sunway, Travel Focus. Previous winners: 2011 Sunway, 2012 Classic Resorts/Sunway, 2013 Classic Resorts, 2014-5 Sunway; 2016 Classic Resorts, 2017 Sunway.
Tour Op Specialist: G Adventures, Shortlisted: Classic Resorts, Crystal Holidays, Discover Travel, Travel Focus. Previous winners: 2011-2 Discover Travel, 2013 Classic Resorts, 2014 Insight; 2015 Sunway, 2016 Insight, 2017 Sunway.
Tourist Board: Spain. Shortlisted: Dubai, Las Vegas, New York, Portugal. Previous winners: 2012-3-4-5-6-7 Spain.
Travel Agency <10: Manning Travel, Kilkenny. Shortlisted: Grogan Travel, The Travel Broker. Previous winners: 2015 Navan Travel, 2016 Fahy Travel Galway, 2017 Grenham Travel Athlone.
Travel Agency >10: Tour America. Shortlisted: Click & Co, Club Travel. Previous winners: 2011 Lee Travel, 2012 Tour America, 2013 O’Hanrahan Travel, 2014 Lee Travel, 2015 Club Travel, 2016 Cassidy Travel, 2017 Shandon Travel.
Travel Agency Corporate: HRG Ireland. Shortlisted: Corporate Travel Management, FCM Travel Solutions. Previous winners: 2011 CWT, 2012-3-4 FCm, 2015-6 Atlas, 2017 CWT.
Travel Insurance: Blue Insurance. Shortlisted: Accident & General, AIG, Axa, Worldwide Insurance. Previous winners: 2011 Accident & General, 2012-3-4-5-6-7 Blue Insurance.
Travel Professional Corporate: Louise Dunne & Karen Ray (Job Share) of The Travel Broker. Shortlisted: Cara Barry of CTM. Ashling Mee of FCm. Previous winners: 2013 Rhona McCann of FCm, 2014 Lelia Gregory of CWT; 2015 Catherine Monaghan of FCm, 2016 Karen Gleeson of FCm, 2017 Niamh Gleeson of FCm.
Travel Professional Leisure: Joanna Gomez of Travel Focus, Shortlisted: Georgina Kelly of The Travel Broker, Leslie Marshall of Tour America. Previous winners: 2013 Katrina McMullan of Navan Travel & Clare O’Dwyer of Shandon travel, 2014 Christine Rickard of Tour America & Katrina McMullan of Navan Travel; (2 categories), 2015 Louise Brennan Ormsby of Club Travel, 2016 Liz Wright of Tour America, 2017 Sandra Mooney of Cassidy Travel.