62 Per Cent Increase in Tourism Bookings Volume Reported
Gulliver Ireland, Ireland's leading cost effective provider of tourism information and reservations, announced today (Monday, 19th December 2005) that Dubliner John Kane has won the inaugural Go.Ireland.com Photography Awards 2005. His photograph, entitled 'From Famine Ships to Partnership', beat thousands of amateur photographer entries from Ireland and a host of countries around the world.
Held in association with The Hinde Group, the awards challenged Irish holidaymakers and visiting tourists to capture a photograph epitomising contemporary Ireland since John Hinde's world-famous series of iconic photographs in 1963. The awards featured three categories: scenery, people and places.
The announcement was made as the Gulliver Ireland-owned GoIreland.com reported a 62 per cent increase in booking volume to the website compared to 2004. More than 31,500 tourism bookings were made to the end of November 2005 (almost 159,000 bednights) which were valued at over €6.1 million. GoIreland.com is the premier online window for Irish tourism businesses and the leading consumer site for tourist information and reservations.
37 per cent of bookings were domestically sourced while 29 per cent came from the UK and a further 15 per cent from the USA. The hotel sector secured 56 per cent of GoIreland.com's tourism bookings while the B&B (29 per cent) and guesthouse (10 per cent) sectors also benefited. GoIreland.com is averaging 50,000 unique visitors per week and is the most booked Gulliver-powered website this year.
John Kane's winning photograph was taken at night along Dublin's Custom House Quay. It features the striking "Famine" sculpture, a memorial to the hundreds of thousands of Irish emigrants who fled during the Great Famine, and contrasts with the new Dublin skyline reflecting the prosperity of modern Ireland.
The photograph has been reproduced as an original John Hinde postcard and the winner also receives a Nikon D70 S digital camera. Eight runners-up from Ireland, the UK, Canada and Norway are rewarded with a selection of Irish short break holidays. The winning Awards images can be viewed by visiting http://www.goireland.com/photos.htm
Speaking at today's announcement, Dick Spring, Gulliver Ireland's Chairman, said, "These awards canvassed how Irish holidaymakers and visiting tourists perceive Ireland today. We were inundated with thousands of varying images from around the world and throughout Ireland which expressed a wealth of diverse views through an interesting and thought-provoking medium. As well as congratulating John Kane and the runners-up, we would also like to acknowledge all of the entrants who made the awards such a success."
Niall Howard, Group Chief Executive of The Hinde Group, said, "John Hinde Ireland would like to congratulate GoIreland.com for running a great competition and John Kane on his winning entry. We hope that the postcard will go on to be as famous as the "Gathering Turf" postcard."