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An innovative yet simple approach to establishing County Clare as a welcoming visitor destination has picked up one of the top honours at the annual LAMA Community and Council Awards 2014, in association with IPB Insurance.

The Clare Tourism Forum ‘Clare says Céad Míle Fáilte’ campaign, which was nominated by Clare County Council, beat off competition from 7 other shortlisted entries from around Ireland to win this year’s ‘Best Tourism Initiative Award’.

Launched in early 2013, 152 tourism providers have signed up to the initiative which sees workers on the frontline of the hospitality sector undergo specific training to assist them in engaging better with visitors and welcoming them to the County.

Mayor of Clare Councillor Joe Arkins welcomed the announcement adding that it was a further sign that the Clare tourism sector collaborative approach to promoting the County as an attractive and welcoming destination.

Mayor Arkins continued: “For almost a decade the Clare Tourism Forum has been working closely with Clare’s tourism trade to market and promote the County as a quality tourism destination. Quality customer care is critically important to the overall success of the local tourism sector and I am delighted that the “Céad Míle Fáilte” campaign has received national recognition and in doing so, thereby has set County Clare apart as a welcoming, visitor-friendly destination.”

Speaking following the LAMA awards ceremony at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Santry, Dublin, on Saturday night, Forum Chairperson Donnagh Gregson said: “The Forum wishes to congratulate all participants in the Céad Míle Fáilte” and acknowledges the efforts ongoing throughout the County to enhance the quality of the tourism product offered by the local sector.”

Commenting on the background to the initiative, Ms. Gregson stated: “The Irish saying ‘Céad Míle Fáilte’ means a hundred thousand welcomes and it is a phrase that has long been associated with this country. The symbolic Irish welcome has however, been less prominent in more recent years. With a clear focus on the customer and improving the welcome given to visitors, the ‘Clare says Céad Míle Fáilte’ initiative seeks to promote this warm welcome to and promote good customer service in Clare with the result that the County’s reputation in terms of hospitality and quality customer care will be enhanced. I am delighted to see that the initiative has been given official recognition.”

The LAMA Community and Council Awards 2014 in association with IPB , highlight and recognise community and councils together, bringing national recognition to projects and developments that may otherwise go unrecognised. Town, Borough, City and County councillors nominate projects across 26 categories that demonstrate the work implemented through unique projects that enhance their local area for the good of the community.

The ‘Clare says Céad Míle Fáilte’ initiative is open to all businesses involved in Customer Service (Business Owners/Managers and Employees).

For more visit -ENDS- CONTACT: Donnagh Gregson, Clare Tourism Forum, 086-1253259 Mark Dunphy, Dunphy PR, 086-8534900