Stacey Bland, Midlands Park Hotel, Laois wins 2019 IHF award
Stacey Bland, a Conference and Events Executive at the Midlands Park Hotel, Portlaoise, Co Laois was named the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) National Employee of the Year. This is the second year of the award, which celebrates and recognises the hotel employee who has made an outstanding contribution to their workplace. Brendan Griffin, TD, Minister of State for Tourism and Sport presented Ms Bland with her award at the IHF’s 81st Annual Conference in the Gleneagle Hotel, Killarney which took place in March. 
Congratulating Ms Bland and the eight other nominees for the award, President of the Irish Hotels Federation, Michael Lennon, said that the award showcased the calibre of people who work within the sector and that “Ireland’s tourism and hospitality industry relies heavily on the consistent delivery of a quality product. This award provides us with an opportunity to demonstrate our appreciation for the valuable contribution that hotel team members make each day in providing a world class hospitality product."
Over 60,000 people are employed in Irish hotels. The Tourism industry is Ireland’s largest indigenous employer and has created over 94,000 new jobs since 2011. It now supports over 260,000 jobs - equivalent to 11% of total employment in Ireland.
Stacey joined the Midlands Park Hotel in 2015 as a Junior Receptionist and was then promoted the following year to the position of Senior Receptionist, before quickly achieving another promotion to supervisor. Stacey now works as a Conference and Events Executive at the hotel and her future ambitions lie in this area of the hospitality sector. 
She was the IHF Midlands branch nominee for the National Employee of the Year Award. When nominating her for the award, management at the Midlands Park Hotel, said that “from her very first day Stacey stood out in every way, from her friendly smile to her interaction with customers. She truly believes in the values of our business by going the extra mile to ensure our guests have a memorable experience.”  
Members of the Irish Hotels Federation could nominate a candidate from their hotel/guesthouse to go forward for their regional branch award. The other shortlisted nominees for the award were:
Dublin: Beatrice O’Donoghue, Sandymount Hotel 
Galway: Martin O’Donnell, The Twelve Hotel, Galway
South East: Gordon Kavanagh, Talbot Hotel, Wexford
Shannon: Monica Heavenor, Fitzgerald’s Woodlands House Hotel, Co Limerick
Kerry: Maura Casey, Aghadoe Heighs Hotel
Mourne/Boyne/Lakes: Sharon Heneghan, Johnstown Estate Hotel, Co Meath
Mayo: Michelle Kilcoyne, Breaffy House Hotel
Cork: Donna Hennessy, Castlemartyr Resort 
The national award was adjudicated by an independent panel of judges, chaired by Dr Tony Lenehan from the Centre for Competitiveness and COTRI (Ireland). 
Tourism sector at a glance:
10.97 million out-of-state visitors
Tourism accounts for almost 4% GNP
Total tourism revenue of €9.42 billion in 2018
Tourism industry has created over 94,000 new jobs since 2011. It now supports over 260,000 jobs - equivalent to 11% of total employment in Ireland with over 60,000 of these jobs in the hotels sector alone
€7.47 billion in foreign exchange earnings 
€1.95 billion in domestic tourism revenue in 2018
827 Hotels (824 in 2017) and 59,609 Hotel bedrooms (58,425 in 2017)
170 Guesthouses (unchanged) and 2,260 Guesthouse bedrooms (2,450 in 2017)
Total of 61,865 hotel and guesthouse bedrooms in Ireland (60,875 in 2017)
About the IHF
Founded in 1937, the Irish Hotels Federation is the national organisation of the hotel and guesthouse sector in Ireland. It represents almost 1,000 hotels and guesthouses nationwide, employing over 60,000 people and is a key stakeholder in the Irish tourism industry.
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