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Exciting Opportunities Ahead as Managing Director of National Geographic Traveller visits 'Cool' Donegal

Donegal was recently awarded the prestigious title of ‘Number 1 Coolest Place on the Planet for 2017’ according to the ‘Cool List’ published by National Geographic Traveller and was featured in the Jan/Feb 2017 edition of the magazine. The article also included a referral link to the Donegal Tourism Ltd consumer website www.govisitdonegal.com. This is a significant award for County Donegal in recognition of the collective work of Donegal Tourism Ltd and everyone involved in the tourism sector to promote Donegal as a unique adventure travel destination on the Wild Atlantic Way.

Donegal Tourism Ltd and Donegal County Council were delighted to welcome Mr. Matthew Jackson the Managing Director and Publisher of National Geographic to County Donegal on 7th and 8th February. Mr. Seamus Neely, Chief Executive of Donegal County Council and Chairman of Donegal Tourism Ltd said that “this award has been of such importance in raising the profile of tourism in County Donegal that we felt it was of great importance to reach out to National Geographic, to thank them for this award and to extend an invitation to them to visit County Donegal and to get a taste of all of the ‘Cool’ experiences we have to offer in Donegal”.

The Board of Directors of Donegal Tourism Ltd with Mr Matthew Jackson at a welcome dinner in the Sandhouse Hotel, Rossnowlagh

The Board of Directors of Donegal Tourism Ltd met with Mr. Matthew Jackson at the Sandhouse Hotel in Rossnowlagh on the evening of 7th February for a welcome dinner. A presentation of a certificate awarding Donegal the title of ‘Coolest Place on the Planet’ was presented by Mr. Jackson of National Geographic to Mr. Seamus Neely; Chairman of Donegal Tourism Ltd and Mr. Jackson was also presented with an authentic tweed hat and flat cap kindly donated by Hanna Hats and a Donegal themed goodie bag at the award presentation.

Mr Matthew Jackson presenting  the certificate to Seamus Neely, Chairman of Donegal Tourism Ltd
Mr. Jackson enjoyed two days of touring Donegal and visited many places including Sliabh Liag, Glenveagh National Park, the Gaeltacht region and many more. Mr. Jackson was delighted to taste the wonderful local speciality foods in Donegal at both Solis Lough Eske Castle and during a delicious meal at Arnold’s Hotel in Dunfanaghy. Due to time restrictions it was not possible to visit every location, but Mr. Jackson enjoyed his time in Donegal so much that he said he would be delighted to explore the rest of the County on a return visit in the future. As a keen cyclist, hiking enthusiast and climber, he expressed a keen interest in outdoor activities in Donegal.

Head of Tourism at Donegal County Council, Mr. Barney McLaughlin stated that “the visit of Matthew Jackson from National Geographic Traveller to Donegal is only the beginning; this is the first step in building a strong relationship between Donegal and the world famous National Geographic brand. We have discussed many opportunities to work together and we look forward to showcasing Donegal to a worldwide audience”. Discussions around the possibility of more collaboration between Donegal Tourism Ltd and National Geographic took place and the team will be working with closely with National Geographic in the coming weeks to develop an exciting marketing campaign.

Matthew Jackson trying on his new tweed hat
National Geographic is a world renowned travel and lifestyle magazine is packed full of exceptional photography, authentic travel experiences and inspiring narratives all focused on the National Geographic Traveller theme ‘All Travel, All the Time’. National Geographic Traveller is passionate about discovering the world, its endless cultures and fascinating people while championing sustainable travel. The National Geographic brand is a seamless fit with the authentic Go Visit Donegal experience. Our goals and objectives align and we look forward to nurturing and developing a strong relationship.

Donegal Tourism Ltd would also like to thank all of those who assisted in making the visit of Matthew Jackson a great success including Solis Lough Eske Castle Donegal Town, the Sandhouse Hotel Rossnowlagh, Hanna Hats of Donegal Town, Arnold’s Hotel Dunfanaghy, Glenveagh National Park and the Killybegs Harbour Master.

For all things Donegal, check out: govisitdonegal.com

Great Start to the Year as Donegal hotels rank highly in Trip Advisor Travellers Choice Awards

Two Donegal Hotels have won major awards in the 2017 TripAdvisor Traveller's Choice Awards and several other Donegal hotels have also been awarded accolades.

Harvey's Point Hotel has again ranked as the No 1 hotel in Ireland and the Villa Rose Hotel has made it in to the Top 10 Hotels in the Top 25 Irish Best Hotels category, at No 10. Harvey's Point also claimed the accolade of becoming recognised as the 10th Best Hotel in Europe!

Harvey's Point Hotel, Donegal

"We are tremendously proud of our TripAdvisor Award," said Leona McGee, Marketing Manager for the Villa Rose Hotel, situated in the centre of Ballybofey. "Donegal has so much to offer in terms of tourism and there are many fine Hotels, B&Bs, Restaurants & Attractions in the County so this is a particularly high honour for us."

While this popular family run Hotel puts a particular emphasis on customer satisfaction and on working hard to maintain their high standards, the award still came as a pleasant surprise. 

The Villa Rose Hotel, Ballybofey

Tommy & Bridget Gallen, owners of the Villa Rose, said that they were "thrilled" to be listed as one of the Top 25 Hotels in Ireland. The Villa Rose Hotel was also awarded No 16 in the Most Romantic Hotels in Ireland category. Tommy put it down to their hard working staff, and showed his appreciation by adding, "Family-run hotels in the County have so much to offer in terms of friendliness, service, quality and value. We would like to thank both our guests and our hard working team of staff who have earned this award on behalf of the Villa Rose Hotel".

Harvey’s Point Hotel, nestled under the Bluestack mountains just outside Donegal Town, has had a very exciting year and these new TripAdvisor awards "are the icing on the cake" as one member of staff aptly put it!

Winning the No 1hotel in Ireland and No 10 in Europe are not the only accolades that the well-loved family-run Harvey's Point picked up in this year’s TripAdvisor Traveller's Choice Awards. 

The luxury 4-star lakeside hotel, run by Deirdre and Marc Gysling was also awarded No 1 in Ireland for Customer Service and No 2 for Most Romantic Hotel in Ireland!

Deirdre, Marc and the team were over the moon with the results when they were recently announced. "Words can hardly express the excitement that we feel, having won No. 1 Hotel in Ireland on TripAdvisor for the fifth year in a row" said a delighted Deirdre Gysling. Deirdre was nominated Donegal Person of the Year in 2016 for her continued and dedicated promotion of County Donegal as a tourism destination.

"This award belongs to our dedicated team, each of whom plays their part in the Harvey’s Point success story. Our heartfelt thanks to our many guests who wrote so favourably of their experiences at Harvey’s Point" she beamed. "We are immensely proud of this great achievement which encourages us to raise the bar even higher in delivering the highest possible standards of hotel-keeping and hospitality".

TripAdvisor relies on the experiences and real opinions of guests who have stayed in the hotels listed to determine the celebrated awards and people planning a trip for 2017 can find inspiration in the awards won by these excellent Donegal establishments.
In this, the 15th year of the Traveller's Choice Awards, TripAdvisor has highlighted the world’s top properties based on the millions of reviews and opinions collected in a single year from travellers around the globe. The hallmarks of Travellers’ Choice hotels winners are remarkable service, value and quality.

Donegal Winners were identified in the nine categories of Top Hotels, Luxury, Good Value/Bargain, Small, Service, B&Bs and Inns, Romance and Family Hotels. County Donegal had a generous listing in the 2017 TripAdvisor Traveller's Choice Awards with other county winners including:
Solis Lough Eske Hotel, Donegal Town (No 19) in the Luxury Hotels category;
Shandon Hotel & Spa, Portnablath (No 13) in the Best Customer Service category;
Caisleain Óir Hotel, Annagry (No 2), The Harbour Inn, Buncrana (No 6) and Donegal Manor, Donegal Town (No21) in the Good Value Hotels category;

Maghera Beach and  Caves was also a winner coming in at No 7 in the Best Beaches category.

That’s a great start for Donegal, so early in the year and it looks like there could be lots more on the way for the “Coolest Place on the Planet” to visit in 2017!