A number of Kilkenny attractions have been recognised by US tourists visiting Ireland with CIE Tours.

After a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, senior representatives of Ireland’s tourism sector came together to, once again, celebrate the diversity and richness of experiences offered by Irish tourism at the CIE Tours annual Awards of Excellence.

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. CIE Tours, which celebrates 91 years in business is the largest operator of guided tours to Ireland in the North American market, bringing over 25,000 visitors here last year.

Elizabeth Crabill, CEO, CIE Tours, Fiona Ross, Chair, CIE Tours pictured with Kelly O’Shea, Diarmuid Walsh and Megan Sendall, Sullivan’s Tap Room

Sullivan’s Tap Room, and Greta Power Bunglaow B&B, Barna, both received merit awards in the visitor attraction category. Merit Awards are presented to hotels and visitor attractions who achieved a customer satisfaction rating of 92% or higher from CIE Tours visitors to Ireland in 2022.

Speaking at the presentation of CIE Tours Annual Awards of Excellence Elizabeth Crabill, CEO 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”.

Ms Crabill said that as one of the longest established tour operators in Ireland, CIE Tours is well placed to help Ireland capitalise on the growing interest in sustainable and responsible tourism.  

“As we develop and implement realistic and meaningful sustainability actions and behaviours, we are committed to working closely with our partners because it is their businesses which are facing first-hand the changing dynamics of tourism, the cash-flow concerns of seasonality, and the climate change impact on local communities and natural spaces.  It is encouraging that so many have already begun their own sustainability journeys and together we can build an even stronger sector with responsible tourism at its core”.

Ms Crabill concluded by warmly congratulating this year’s winners of a CIE Tours Award of Excellence on their achievements and thanked all the company’s partners who work closely with CIE Tours throughout the year.


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