February started on a good note for the management of Giant’s Causeway as the world heritage site bagged two awards at the CIE Tours International awards. Giant’s Causeway walked home with the Golden National Heritage award and the Award of Excellence.
The Gold Heritage award is the first of its kind to be received by the Giant’s Causeway ever since UNESCO made it a world heritage site while the Award of Excellence has been won by the world heritage. The latest Award of Excellence is the fourth such award for the Giant’s Causeway’s team ever since a new Visitor Centre was constructed at the site.
Speaking at the awards gala after his team had received the two awards, the General Manager of Giant’s Causeway, Max Bryant, said that they were proud that CIE had once again honoured them with the Award of Excellence and also the prestigious Gold Award. Also in attendance to represent the heritage site at the awards were Billy Stirling, the Welcome Ranger and Alexandra Mehaffy, the Tourism Development Manager.
Bryant hailed his team members as being great representatives of the National Trust and the greater community of Northern Ireland. He also said that the National Trust’s aim was to offer all their visitors a superb experience as well a sense of welcome which is typical in the North coast region. The Causeway received more than 850,000 tourists from 176 countries in 2015.
The recent award ceremony was the 26th one ever since CIE started the excellence awards. The awards are held annually and are issued to top performing Irish companies and organisations in the tourism and hospitality industry. CIE Excellence Awards are based entirely on the feedback given by CIE customers who visit Ireland annually. The final results of the awards are credible as they are solely decided by visitors touring Ireland from overseas. The results are thus an independent reflection of the quality of services offered by the tourism or hospitality organisations which scoop the final award. The customers are issued with over 40,000 questionnaires to fill to help come up with the winners.
The winners of CIE Excellence Awards are chosen with precision, only customers who achieve a rating beyond 90 percent are allowed to fill the questionnaires which determine the annual winners of the awards. Over 97 percent of tourists who come to visit Ireland through CIE Tours International are those who are visiting Ireland for the first time. This ensures that the winners are selected from a completely independent point of view as opposed to the case in which the customers are Irish locals or are familiar with Ireland.
The awards at the 26th CIE Excellence Awards were presented to the winners by Vivienne Jupp, the chairperson of CIE. CIE Tours International Managing Director, Brian Stack, also addressed the gathering at the awards gala. He said that 2015 had been another stellar year for them as they received 44,000 customers with bed nights reaching about 350,000. He added that their visitors had contributed significantly to the 2015 growth in Ireland’s tourism sector in which a total of eight million tourists visited the country.
There were also other winners at the awards gala aside from Giant’s Causeway. Other Award of Excellence winners included Glenveagh National Park and Titanic Belfast among others. The awards were all presented for the organisations’ 2015 performance. The awards are usually held earlier in the year, often in January or February, to recognise stellar performances in the Irish tourism and hospitality industry in the previous year.
Previous winners of the CIE Excellence Awards have included the Manor House Hotels who scooped two top awards in 2015 and the Irish National Stud & Gardens who received the 2014 CIE Excellence Award for the fourth year in a row. Perhaps the very popular Allen’s Tours could be a winner next year! CIE Tours International’s 2014 Excellence Awards was held at Dublin Castle on January 27, 2015.
CIE Tours International has been in operation for about 84 years to date. Their perks include guaranteed departure times, stable prices, and group tours among others. The services offered by CIE Tours International are of high quality and for this reason, the company is a favourite of many tourists seeking the help of tourism agencies to come to Ireland. CIE lets its customers book its services online. The customers are provided with escorted coach tours when they come to Ireland.