GoIreland.com Reports 59 Per Cent Rise in Tourism Bookings
Gulliver Ireland, Ireland's leading cost effective provider of tourism information and reservations, launched today (Wednesday, 12th July 2006) the GoIreland.com Photography Awards 2006 in association with John Hinde Ireland. GoIreland.com and Gulliver Ireland are part of FEXCO AllTravel.
The GoIreland.com Photography Awards 2006 invites Irish holidaymakers and visiting tourists to fast forward to the future and capture a photograph of tomorrow's Ireland today. These images will contrast sharply with John Hinde's series of famous postcards which captured Ireland's idyllic rural landscape where, most memorably, red-haired children collected turf from a Connemara bog.
GoIreland.com, the most booked Gulliver-powered tourist website in 2006, also reported a 59 per cent rise in tourism bookings for the first half of the year. More than 24,000 bookings, representing 123,550 bednights valued at almost €4.9 million, were recorded. US (15 per cent), UK (29 per cent) and Irish (37 per cent) holidaymakers accounted for the majority of bookings. The hotel and B&B sectors benefited most from the bookings increase with the former witnessing 77 per cent growth and the latter a 52 per cent rise compared with the same period last year. GoIreland.com receives more than 50,000 unique visitors each week.
Open to both domestic and inbound tourists, entries to the Awards may be made online by visiting http://www.goireland.com/photos.htmEnter.htm. Further information on the Awards is available by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. The closing date for entries is Friday, 29th September 2006.
Last year's Awards challenged entrants to capture a photograph epitomising contemporary Ireland since John Hinde's world-famous 1963 series of iconic photographs. Dubliner John Kane's photograph, entitled 'From Famine Ships to Partnerships', beat thousands of amateur photographer entries from Ireland and a host of countries around the world.
Speaking at the launch of the Awards, the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism, Mr John O'Donoghue, T.D. said, "Ireland continues to develop its standing and performance in the increasingly competitive international tourism market where we have witnessed many important improvements in the country's tourism offering since the original publication of John Hinde's images in 1963.
"The GoIreland.com Photography Awards presents Irish and visiting holiday makers with the opportunity to envisage what Ireland will look like in the future and how that might enhance the country as a tourist destination. Significantly, the Awards will also provide the tourism industry with invaluable feedback on perceptions of Ireland at home and around the world," added Minister O'Donoghue.
The 12 photographs voted the GoIreland.com Photography Icons for 2006 will be reproduced in an original John Hinde Company 2007 calendar. The overall winning photograph will also earn the winning amateur a luxury holiday in Ireland including flights, car rental and four nights accommodation in the five-star Merrion Hotel. Runners-up will be awarded a selection of short breaks.
The GoIreland.com Photography Awards 2006 Judging Panel is chaired by Dick Spring. It includes John McCreery, Sales Director, John Hinde Ireland as well as representatives from the tourism, arts and photography sectors such as Paul O'Toole, Chief Executive of Tourism Ireland; the internationally acclaimed artist, Pauline Bewick; and Jerry Kennelly, the founder of Stockbyte, the specialist stock photography agency. Last year's Awards winner, John Kane, also sits on the Judging Panel.
Speaking at the launch event, Gulliver Ireland's Chairman, Dick Spring said, "This year's Awards theme asks Irish holiday makers and visiting tourists to take out their cameras, dust down their crystal balls and picture Ireland's future today. Using John Hinde's famous photos as inspiration and a benchmark in time, the challenge is to predict what Ireland will look like in the years to come and capture this in a photograph. Last year's inaugural Awards attracted thousands of submissions from around the world and the Judging Panel looks forward to reviewing just as many creative entries this year."
John Hinde Ireland's Sales Director, John McCreery, said, "The John Hinde brand has long been at the heart of the Irish tourist industry. Its heritage stretches back to the late 1950s when John Hinde started producing high quality postcards depicting scenes that have become etched on the memories of millions of visitors to our shores as well as the Irish themselves, both at home and abroad. The company today is now itself a global company, with operations in the USA and the UK, creating and distributing quality, novelty tourist and gift products.
"However, I don't think that we will ever forget or lose the appreciation of quality product and impactful, resonating imagery and design that the company's founder, John Hinde, has given us. We are delighted to be associated with the GoIreland.com Photography Awards for the second year running and look forward to reviewing the submissions depicting tomorrow's Ireland," added John McCreery.