Key Trends for Tourism Sector in the Coming Years Highlighted

Multi-generational holidays, immersive experiences and the "human touch" are key trends driving the travel and tourism sector this year, according to industry leaders who gathered in Dublin this weekend to discuss the challenges and opportunities they face

A ‘who’s who’ of  Irish  travel and tourism  met  at Dublin’s Cliff Townhouse to celebrate the winners of the 2019 Irish Independent Reader Travel Awards, and to look ahead to 2020.

Commenting at the event, Pól Ó Conghaile, Travel Editor with the Irish Independent, said: “Our readers have identified clear trends for travel and tourism in 2019. Firstly, we’re seeing increased demand for multi-generational holidays, where children, parents and grandparents can enjoy time together.

“Secondly – and mirroring what’s happening in wider society – we’re seeing a backlash against the ‘always on’, device-driven  mindset. Tourism operators who offer a genuine human touch in the age of the screen are really resonating with our readers. People are seeking out warm service, human advice and ways to connect with childhood memories.

“The third strong trend we’re witnessing this year is the continued rise of experiential and immersive travel. Instead of traditional sightseeing, the 2019 tourist wants the type of holiday experience where they get to live like a local, learn new skills, and truly immerse themselves in a new culture.”

Looking ahead to 2020

Industry leaders who gathered at the Cliff Townhouse event this weekend included: Neven Maguire of MacNean House & Restaurant; Fern Allen of Ballymaloe; Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland; Tanya Airey, Managing Director of Sunway; and food writer Katy McGuinness.

As well as celebrating the winners of the 2019 Reader Travel Awards, details of the 2020 awards were revealed at the event.

Cliona Carroll, Sponsorship and Events Manager with INM, said: “The Irish Independent Reader Travel Awards are Ireland’s most credible, reader-driven travel awards. Looking to 2020, we’re delighted to announce the awards will culminate in an exclusive awards ceremony in The Round Room at Dublin’s Mansion House on 17th January next year.

“As in 2019, next year’s event promises to be a who’s who of Irish travel and tourism with over 300 people attending a premium lunch and an after-party to celebrate. I would like to thank this year’s sponsor, Iarnród Éireann, and mention there are limited 2020 sponsorship opportunities available with tickets on sale now .”

2019 Winners

The winners of the 2019 Irish Independent Reader Travel Awards were strongly represented at this weekend’s event. The winners were announced last month, as follows:

  • Ireland’s Favourite Home Holiday: Kerry.
  • Ireland’s Favourite Spa: Monart, Co. Wexford.
  • Ireland’s Favourite Hotel: The Shelbourne, Dublin.
  • Ireland’s Favourite Overseas Holiday: Italy.
  • Ireland’s Favourite Beach: Curracloe, Co. Wexford.
  • Ireland’s Favourite Local Attraction: Phoenix Park, Dublin.
  • Ireland’s Favourite Small Stay: Hidden Valley, Co. Wicklow.
  • Ireland’s Favourite Adventure: Waterford Greenway.
  • Ireland’s Favourite Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean.
  • Ireland’s Favourite Foodie Experience: Ballymaloe, Co. Cork.
  • Ireland’s Favourite Ferry Experience: Stena Line.
  • Ireland’s Favourite Airline: Aer Lingus.
  • Best Irish Breakfast: MacNean House & Restaurant, Co. Cavan
  • Ireland’s Favourite Visitor Attraction: Cliffs of Moher, Co. Clare.
  • Ireland’s Favourite Travel Agent: Sunway
  • Best Irish Welcome: Castlewood House, Co. Kerry

Judges for the 2020 awards were revealed this weekend, and include: Pól Ó Conghaile; John and Francis Brennan; Katy McGuinness; Leslie Ann Horgan; and Niall Tracey of Fáilte Ireland.