GoIreland.com Records 33 Per Cent Rise in Online Tourism Bookings
Gulliver Ireland, Ireland's leading cost effective provider of tourism information and reservations which is part of FEXCO AllTravel, announced today (Monday, 15th January 2007) that Irishman Ken Sheridan, from Trim, Co. Meath, has won the GoIreland.com Photography Awards 2006. His photograph, entitled 'Under Construction', beat thousands of amateur tourist photographer entries from around the world.
Held in association with John Hinde Ireland, the awards challenged Irish holidaymakers and visiting tourists to fast forward to the future and capture a photograph of tomorrow's Ireland today. Entries from Argentina, Australia, Brazil, India, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, South Africa and the USA competed with tourists from Europe and a host of other countries in the annual amateur tourist photography competition, which is aimed at showcasing Ireland and its tourism qualities.
The announcement was made as the Gulliver Ireland-owned GoIreland.com reported a 33 per cent increase in tourism bookings last year compared to 2005. Nearly 44,000 tourism bookings were made online (representing nearly 207,000 bednights), which were valued at over €8.5 million. GoIreland.com is the premier online window for Irish tourism businesses and the leading consumer site for tourist information and reservations.
Nearly half (45 per cent) of GoIreland.com's bookings were domestically sourced while 25 per cent came from the UK and a further 14 per cent from the USA. The strong growth in domestic bookings is an emerging trend over the past number of years. In 2004, for example, domestic bookings stood at 29 per cent while this share of overall bookings rose last year to 37 per cent. Germany and France also made the Top 5 country booking source list for 2006.
The hotel sector secured 57 per cent of GoIreland.com's tourism bookings, a rise of 34 per cent on 2005, while the B&B (30 per cent share) and guesthouse (8 per cent share) sectors also benefited.
Dublin (34 per cent share), the South West (16 per cent share) and the West (14 per cent share) were the three regions to secure the most bookings last year. GoIreland.com is averaging over 54,000 unique visitors per week and was the most booked Gulliver-powered website last year.
Ken Sheridan's winning photograph is a black and white "grainy effect" study of the transformation of Dublin along the River Liffey. Tourists from South Africa, Germany and the Netherlands were among the runners-up. The winning photograph together with the 11 runners-up voted the GoIreland.com Photography Icons for 2006 will be reproduced as an original John Hinde Company 2008 calendar.
The winning images can be viewed by visiting http://www.goireland.com/photos.htm Ken Sheridan wins a luxury holiday in Ireland including four nights accommodation in the five-star Merrion Hotel while runners-up are awarded a selection of short breaks.
Speaking at today's announcement, Dick Spring, Gulliver Ireland's Chairman, said, "We are delighted with the range and quality of entries from tourists who are helping to develop the GoIreland.com Photography Awards into a genuine international tourist photography competition. The range of tourists from countries around the globe who entered the awards while visiting Ireland continued to grow this year. Our congratulations go to this year's winner, Ken Sheridan, whose winning photograph captured an evocative image on Dublin's River Liffey."
John McCreery, Sales Director, John Hinde Ireland, said, "John Hinde Ireland is delighted to be associated with the GoIreland.com Photography Awards again this year. We have produced a beautiful calendar with the winning images, which will be on sale from February. As usual, the standard was very high and the judges had a difficult time making the final selection. Thanks to all who entered."
The GoIreland.com Photography Awards 2006 Judging Panel was chaired by Dick Spring. It included 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 sat on the Judging Panel.