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18 Dec 2016

Ireland scoops ‘best destination’ award in New York

Travel Weekly accolade rounds off another record-breaking year for Irish tourism from the United States

Ireland has scooped a major travel award in New York – for the third year in a row.

Ireland was named “best destination: Europe” at the annual Travel Weekly annual Readers Choice Awards – beating off tough competition from England, France, Italy, Germany and Spain. Travel Weekly is the leading weekly newspaper for American travel agents and travel professionals and some 15,000 of its readers voted in the various categories earlier this year. Now in their 14th year, the Readers Choice Awards represent the “best of the best in travel” according to Travel Weekly. 

Ireland also won this award in 2014 and 2015.

Niall Gibbons, Tourism Ireland’s CEO, said: “We are delighted that Ireland has been singled out for this award in the United States. Travellers nowadays have tremendous choice, which makes it more important than ever for us to ensure the island of Ireland stands out from other destinations – so this award is really good news, coming at the end of another record-breaking year for Irish tourism from the US and as we prepare to kick off another extensive promotional drive in 2017, in this all-important market. I would like to take this opportunity to thank our travel trade partners across the United States – who continue to play a very important role in helping us to continue to grow visitor numbers to Ireland. I would also like to acknowledge the hugely important contribution of our tourism partners from the island of Ireland, who joined us on the ground in the US this year, helping to spread the word about why Ireland is such a great choice for a vacation. 

“2016 will be the fourth record year in a row for visitor numbers to the island of Ireland from North America. By the end of this year, we will have welcomed about 1.6 million American and Canadian visitors, delivering revenue of €1.4 billion for the economy throughout 2016. Tourism Ireland has undertaken an extensive, very targeted programme of promotions right throughout 2016, building awareness of the island of Ireland as a premier vacation destination. We look forward to building on this year’s success in 2017 and beyond.” 

And in the recent MarCom awards (international competition for marketing and communications programmes), Tourism Ireland and its partner TravelZoo, a leading online global travel company, received a platinum award for their joint digital campaign and satellite media tour which broadcast from Dublin across the United States for St Patrick’s Day 2016.  Alison Metcalfe, Tourism Ireland’s Head of North America, accepts the “best destination: Europe” award for Ireland, from Arnie Weissmann, editor-in-chief of Travel Weekly, at the Travel Weekly Readers Choice Awards.

Notes To Editors

  • Tourism Ireland is the organisation responsible for promoting the island of Ireland overseas as a leading holiday destination.
  • Tourism is the island of Ireland’s largest indigenous industry; responsible for in excess of 4% of GNP in the Republic of Ireland and employing approximately 220,000 people.
  • By the end of 2016, we will have welcomed approximately 10.5 million overseas visitors to the island of Ireland, delivering revenue of about €5.4 billion.
  • Tourism Ireland’s international website is, 29 market sites available in 11 language versions around the world, which attracted more than 16.6 million visitors in 2015.