At the inaugural Irish Consumer Travel Awards in the RDS last night the Cliffs of Moher were presented with the award for Best Irish Visitor Attraction by TV personality and travel journalist Kathryn Thomas in front of 400 members of the travel trade and media. The Irish Consumer Travel Awards celebrates the very best of the travel industry as voted by the Irish consumer. The Irish Consumer Travel Awards are the creation of online travel agency eBookers.ie and Abroad Magazine in association with the Irish Times travel supplement Go Magazine. Other sponsors include Virgin Atlantic, Blue Insurances & Travelport. Unlike any other awards related to the travel industry, members of the public were invited to rate all aspects of the travel industry that affect them.
Thousands of votes were registered when online voting took place between January 10th and March 31st 2009. Categories ranged from airlines, travel agents, tour operators, hotels, travel journalists, travel publications, destinations and, of course, visitor attractions. The voting and final results have been independently audited by the Department of Tourism Research at Dublin Institute of Technology.
The Cliffs of Moher emerged at the top of the public vote amidst strong competition from the other four shortlisted nominations for the prized category of Best Irish Visitor Attraction. The other front runners included Blarney, the Giants Causeway, the Guinness Storehouse and Newgrange. County Clare saw further success with Dromoland Castle receiving the award for Best Munster Hotel. The Best International Visitor Attraction went to the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
“We’re delighted with this ringing endorsement for the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience from the Irish consumer,” stated Katherine Webster, Director of the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience. “It validates Clare County Council’s work to develop the new visitor facilities and management at the Cliffs and is a real feather in the cap for everyone working here since the new visitor centre opened just over 2 years ago.”
Meanwhile the Cliffs of Moher are still contending for a place amongst the finalists for the global vote to find the New 7 Wonders of Nature. As of Monday 20th April the Cliffs of Moher are ranked at number 9 in their category of Seascapes. The Cliffs must be in the top 11 of their category by 7th July 2009 to be in with a chance of being selected from an international panel of judges to be among the 21 finalists. A nationwide campaign backed by 7up Free has urged Irish people to “Get Behind the Cliffs” and not only vote themselves but to tap into the wider Irish diaspora to encourage a worldwide movement to vote for Ireland’s nomination on www.new7wonders.com