A FANTASTIC historic town with a warm welcome for all visitors were two of the aspects of life in Tralee that helped the town clinch a top-ten place in the Fáilte Ireland Tourism Towns awards this week.
It came as an incredible vote of confidence in the town's efforts to promote itself as a great destination as well as in the wide variety of attractions and activities on offer here.
While Kilkenny won the top accolade on Thursday, Tralee was nonetheless highly commended for all it offers visitors in a wonderful stamp of approval from the country's top tourism body.
Speaking at the awards, Fáilte Ireland CEO Shaun Quinn praised the Lee Valley connurbation as a 'great example' of all that can be achieved in tourism when people come together as one. The awards were designed and held to promote Irish towns and villages that are working hardest to enhance their appeal to tourists.
"I would like to commend the communities of Kenmare and Tralee for making the top ten at this year's Tourism Town Awards," Mr Quinn said.
"You are a great example of what can be achieved in tourism when all the local elements are aligned with a common purpose. I hope that the towns and villages recognised today will inspire other communities across Ireland to take similar steps," he said.
Judges in the competition were similarly effusive over Tralee's communal approach to tourism.
Judges concluded: "There is a great sense of history in Tralee and it is clear that the local community are fully on board regarding the value of tourism. The friendliness of the people is clearly evident – in Tralee, it is all about stimulating community pride. Tralee is an interesting town where one could easily spend a few hours walking the streets, visiting shops and enjoying the roses in the town park."
Chief Executive of the Tralee Chamber Alliance Kieran Ruttledge said the Tourism Towns initiative had encouraged the entire community to even greater heights over the past year.
"We found the Tourism Towns experience to be a rewarding one, it made us focus on what we have to offer from a tourism perspective and how we can get this message out to potential visitors.
"The aim of Tralee Chamber Alliance is to make Tralee a better place to live, work and visit and the Tourism Towns competition was a fantastic opportunity to test ourselves with these goals in mind," Mr Ruttledge said.