More Irish People Book Irish Holidays Online Than Ever Before
Gulliver Ireland, Ireland's leading cost effective provider of reservations and tourism information, launched today (Monday, 30th July 2007) the GoIreland.com Photography Awards 2007 in association with John Hinde Ireland. Gulliver Ireland and GoIreland.com are part of FEXCO AllTravel.
The Photography Awards is an international amateur tourist photography competition aimed at showcasing Ireland and its tourism qualities. Using John Hinde's series of famous postcards and iconic images of Ireland years ago as inspiration, Irish holidaymakers and visiting tourists are invited to submit an image of Ireland's beautiful landscape that characterises the country's tourism qualities.
Irishman Ken Sheridan, from Trim, Co. Meath, won last year's competition. His photograph, entitled 'Under Construction', beat thousands of amateur tourist photographer entries from around the world.
Entries to the Awards can be made online by visiting here. Further information on the Awards is available by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. The closing date for entries is Friday, 14th September 2007.
The winning photograph voted the GoIreland.com Photography Awards Icon 2007 will become part of history by being reproduced as an original postcard by the John Hinde Company and distributed throughout the country. The overall winning photograph will also earn the winning amateur a luxury holiday in Ireland with flights, hotel accommodation and car rental included. A selection of short breaks will be awarded to the two runners-up.
GoIreland.com, the most booked Gulliver-powered tourist website in 2006, also reported almost 22,500 tourism bookings for the first half of 2007. The online bookings, representing over 118,500 bednights, were valued at more than €4.7 million.
The company revealed that Irish holidaymakers made more online bookings through GoIreland.com (42 per cent) than any other tourist nationality. This is the highest level of domestic online bookings recorded ever. UK (18 per cent) and US (14 per cent) tourists were second and third respectively for online Irish bookings.
Visitors from Northern Ireland, France, Australia, Scotland, Germany, Canada and Italy also featured in the Top 10. Online bookers are also increasingly visiting Ireland from countries further afield such as Ghana, the United Arab Emirates, Vietnam and Puerto Rico.
The hotel sector secured more than half (52 per cent) of all online bookings through GoIreland.com to date this year. 33 per cent of all online bookings were for B&Bs. GoIreland.com receives more than 60,000 unique visitors each week.
Speaking at the launch of the Awards, the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism, Séamus Brennan T.D. said, "Ireland has come a long way as an economy and as a tourist destination since the original publication of John Hinde's images back in 1963. Ireland is continuing to solidly develop its standing and performance in the increasingly competitive international tourism market with more than 7 million visitors coming to our shores last year.
"The challenge ahead is to continue to offer a tourism product that makes Ireland an attractive and inviting place to holiday and that is why the GoIreland.com Photography Awards are so valuable on several fronts. The Awards present Irish and visiting holidaymakers with the opportunity to capture the captivating beauty and uniqueness of our landscape, which continues to be one of the primary reasons why people return again and again to holiday in Ireland. The Awards will also provide the tourism industry with valuable feedback on perceptions and images of Ireland at home and around the world," added Minister Brennan.
Speaking at the launch event, Gulliver Ireland's Chairman, Dick Spring said, "Promoting Ireland and its tourism qualities in today's increasingly competitive tourism environment is more important than ever. The Photography Awards is one way of encouraging Irish and visiting tourists to reflect on what makes Ireland the fantastic tourism location that it is. This year's theme is Ireland's beautiful landscape and we look forward to viewing the many entries that will be taken around the country this year."
John Hinde Ireland's Sales Director, John McCreery, said, "John Hinde are delighted to be associated with GoIreland.com for another year of the photography competition. In a rapidly changing Ireland, it is always exciting to discover how our country is perceived through the eyes of the participants, both Irish and visitors. Based on previous years it will be another big challenge for the judges."