Kelly Ann McKay, Miriam Barrett and Elaine Connaughton of Ashford Castle with Joe Dolan, president, IHF (left), and Minister of State at the Department of Tourism, Transport and Sport, Brendan Griffin (right) at the IHF's Quality Employers Awards.

Another award for top Mayo hotel

ASHFORD Castle in Cong was among the winners in the Irish Hotels Federation's Quality Employers Awards 2018.

The awards, which acknowledge excellence in human resource management across Ireland’s hotel and guesthouse sector, were presented by the Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Brendan Griffin, at the IHF's 80th annual conference in Cavan this week.

Seven awards were presented to winners according to the size of the premises. The winners were: Slieve Russell Hotel, Cavan (large), Grand Hotel Malahide, Co. Dublin (large), Skylon Hotel, Dublin (intermediate), Sligo Park Hotel (intermediate), Ashford Castle, Cong, Co. Mayo (medium), Aghadoe Heights Hotel, Killarney, Co. Kerry (medium), and Vienna Woods Hotel, Cork (small).

Congratulating the winners, Tim Fenn, chief executive of the IHF, said: “The Irish tourism sector is renowned all over the world for its outstanding welcome and customer service levels. Our employees are our best ambassadors, ensuring that guests have a truly memorable visit that they will share with their family and friends.

“The QEP Awards are now in their fourth year, and the impressive calibre of this year’s entrants demonstrates the commitment of our members to investing in their staff and to developing young people through a wide range of training and education and the provision of structured career paths for employees across all areas of their business.”

The tourism industry is Ireland’s largest indigenous employer, supporting approximately 230,000 jobs - equivalent to 11% of total employment - with approximately 60,000 of these jobs in the hotel sector alone.