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Recognising our Future Tourism Professionals

Posted 17 Sep, 2019

The Northern Ireland Travel and Tourism Awards organised by Northern Ireland Travel News, in association with Blue Insurance, announced that Belfast Met student Chloe Gordon has been awarded the Travel student of the Year.

NITA Chair and Partnership Manager for British Airways Brenda Morgan joined James McGinn, Director of Hotels, Hastings Hotel Group and Travel Industry Consultant Doreen McKenzie to judge the highly contested assessments held at the Europa Hotel.

Speaking after the announcement was made, Brenda said, ‘What a privilege it was to be part of the judging panel for Student of the Year for the NI Travel and Tourism Awards. Chloe was a very worthy winner. Congratulations also to all of the finalists for their professionalism and knowledge of our industry, a credit to your lecturers and College. It was so inspiring to see the student's passion to grow Tourism in NI, and we were very impressed with their understanding of how much the industry is a key economic driver. I am looking forward to seeing these wonderful students having very successful careers going forward in our industry’.

So what attracted Chloe to a career in tourism?

Chloe told NITA:

‘From travelling every year for as long as I can remember and constantly working in customer faced environments for the past 6 years, what could be better than combining the two? I loved travelling to different destinations and seeing the unique experiences and cultures each of the destinations had to offer, becoming a travel agent was always my main target. I studied Travel and Tourism at A-Level as I believed there was so much more to the industry that I hadn’t yet discovered, through great interest and effort resulted in me achieving an A*.

After achieving the excellent result I knew that my passion would enable me to thrive within both my studies and the industry so I continued on to study a foundation degree in International Travel and Tourism Management. The various modules I studied showed me that there is so much to this wonderful industry than just travel agents and air hostesses which most people think. I followed my dreams and started working in Thomas Cook on a part time basis alongside my studies in order to get hands on experience. After spending 6 months working in Thomas Cook I moved onto TUI in order to see if they operated in a similar manner. The student of the year award was fast approaching and I was unsure whether or not I should apply. My lecturers in college were the ones who boosted my confidence to apply for the award. I completed the application form and attended the interview where I met some inspiring individuals from the travel and tourism industry.

My knowledge and understanding has continued to grow at a fast pace as I continue on to my final year in Ulster University, I aim to continue getting experience within the industry possibly exploring different areas which I never really considered. A big thank you to friends, family and especially my lecturers as I wouldn’t be where I am today without them’.

Chloe will receive her award on stage at the Northern Ireland Travel and Tourism Awards ceremony which will be held on Friday, October 11 in the Slieve Donard Resort and Spa.

The other finalists were Ethan Reith from the Belfast Met, Arlene Lawry and Margaret O’Driscoll, from the North West Regional College and Mayo Inthanufai and Mikaela Beggan, from the South West College.