The new chairman of Laois Tourism is sure that Ballyfin Demense's winning of the Conde Nast Best Hotel in the World award will yield benefits for Laois.
“The awareness it creates, you can't buy that publicity. For a little county that is landlocked, it's wonderful,” said Michael Murphy who is the manager of the Portlaoise Heritage Hotel.
He was personally delighted to see Ballyfin House restored.
“We held Laois Tourism meetings there in the 1990s, and my own son went to school there. The restoration job is beautiful. ” he said.
“To beat everyone else, and to think that the top hotel in the world is in Laois, is a fabulous accolade.
We will all benefit, people might look up Laois on google now and find it easier, and maybe more visitors will come and see the rest of the county,” he said.
“It is a new channel for tourism, another string to our bow,” Mr Murphy added.
Laois Tourism is about to appoint a new co-ordinater, to help form a strategy for promote the county to tourists over the next five years.
“We will also be appointing a tourism manager early next year. We aim to bring all the agencies together, working with the likes of Bord Failte, Laois Partnership and Ireland's Ancient East,” he said.
“We have got the history and heritage in Laois, and with their help we can promote Laois as a destination as opposed to somewhere you just drive through,” he said.
There is plenty of scope for improvement in the tourism industry in Laois he admitted.
“We are in the bottom half of the league, but I think the future is bright,” said the Laois Tourism Chairman.
“As chairman, I see us pulling all the strands together, north and south of Laois, and co-ordinating it in a fair way.
“Michael G Phelan from south Laois is the Vice Chairman, and South Laois Tourism have proved themselves with the likes of the Scarecrow festival,” he said.