independent

Saturday 15 December 2018

Hook Lighthouse wins tourism prize in London

Hook Lighthouse event manager Ann Waters with British Guild of Travel Writers chairman Alastair McKenzie
Hook Lighthouse event manager Ann Waters with British Guild of Travel Writers chairman Alastair McKenzie

David Looby

The team at the 800-year-old Hook Lighthouse are celebrating as the tourist attraction was presented with 'highly commended' in the 'Best Tourism Project in the UK and Ireland 2018' award category by the British Guild of Travel Writers at their annual World Tourism Awards ceremony which was hosted on Saturday at the Savoy Hotel in London.

The award-winning global travel writer and guild member Isabel Conway nominated Hook Lighthouse during the summer.

Hook Lighthouse was the only Irish attraction to be shortlisted for the award. Since that initial nomination, the attraction has undergone a rigorous judging process by the British Guild of Travel Writers.

In September Hook Lighthouse received the news that the venue and tour experience had been shortlisted for the prestigious British Guild of Travel Writers world tourism awards 2018. It was selected as a finalist and was one of three attractions and projects that made it to the best tourism project in UK and Ireland award stage. Only Guild members can nominate tourism attractions and destinations for the annual awards and the final stage of the awards judging saw Isabel showcase the lighthouse attraction to her peers via a video presentation which was captured during one of her visits to the lighthouse.

Within the video, Isabel showcases the visitor experience at the medieval lighthouse and urges her fellow guild members to vote for the attraction because it is 'world-class, unique and deserves further recognition'.

Attending the awards ceremony in London and speaking from the event, manager of Hook Lighthouse Ann Waters said: 'We are just thrilled. The entire team at Hook lighthouse are dedicated to ensuring a top quality visitor experience for every visitor from ensuring fun for the little ones to sharing the local knowledge and historical insights and heritage of the 800-year-old lighthouse.'

She said: 'This is a real team award. We have been working hard on developing new product experiences and travelling to trade tourism events sharing these with global tour operators for the last 18 months, this work is really paying off and this hugely high profile award will certainly help in this area now too. As an attraction with a 100 per cent eco and sustainable tourism policy, it is really wonderful to witness a global guild of travel writers showcasing diverse attractions from all over the world which will ensure a greater experience for visitors whilst also seeing a move away from over-populated tourism destinations too.'

Ms Waters and the team used the occasion to showcase Hook Peninsula as part of Ireland's Ancient East.

The high profile awards ceremony is always hosted in London on the eve of the annual tourism event 'World Travel Market' which was attended by the Hook Lighthouse team.

Ms Conway said: 'As a long-term member of the guild I am well aware of how difficult it is to even be shortlisted for one of these awards and what it means for an attraction so I am just delighted for all of the team at Hook Lighthouse. Hook Lighthouse is a world-class and unique attraction; this is something which I wanted to showcase as part of my nomination and it is wonderful to see this recognised took by my peers from across the globe.'

Hook Lighthouse is presently commencing a three-year development plan with Fáilte Ireland and Wexford County Council, further striving to develop its visitor experience offering within Ireland's Ancient East.

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