AN award in memory of a great tourism professional has been presented to a young student who has excelled in her studies to obtain a higher certificate in arts and hotel operations at the Academy of Hospitality and Tourism in IT Tralee.
Michelle O’Sullivan received the inaugural Eckhard Gogsch service and skills award from the Skal Club of Kerry in memory of a hugely popular personality in the local tourism trade who spent his entire life working at different levels in the industry.
Eckhard, who passed away in May 2016, was born and reared near the spectacular Lake Constance in Germany and moved the Killarney in 1968 to take up a position in the Hotel Europe as head waiter, also working in the sister Hotel Dunloe Castle.
In the mid 1980s Eckhard joined Fáilte Ireland and the State agency Cert and was centre manager in many of their training schools, including the former Torc Great Southern in Killarney, and it was in these schools that students were prepared for careers in the tourism industry.
Under Eckhard’s guidance, students acquired a range of skills, food preparation, restaurant service, accommodation service, bar and front office as well as business operations and communications.
He later started a freelance tour company with his wife, Patricia, bringing visitors from all over the world to Ireland and leading them on great adventures throughout the country.
Kerry Skal President, Sheila Casey, remarked: “He always stressed to students that working in the hospitality industry was rewarding and there were ample opportunities for career progression”.
She added: “The hospitality industry is all about people. By keeping our customers happy they will be loyal and through word of mouth will do marketing for us.
Eckhard was a very active member of the Kerry Skal Club since its inception 21 years ago and, because of his active involvement, Skal Kerry decided to present the award in his memory.
The presentation ceremony at IT Tralee was attended by Eckhard’s wife Patricia and son Dieter.
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