What has been an epic year for tourism in Ireland has been further boosted by a further award.

Ireland has been named Best Destination Europe at the annual Travel Weekly Readers Choice Awards.

The award comes in the wake of Donegal topping National Geographic’s Cool List, three hotels making Conde Nast’s Best Hotels in The World list and the Skelling Ring being named as one of Lonely Planet’s Top Destinations for 2017.

Travel Weekly is the leading weekly newspaper for American travel agents and travel professionals; 15,000 of its readers voted in the various categories earlier this year.

It's also the third year consecutively that Ireland has scooped the award.

Niall Gibbons, Tourism Ireland’s CEO, speaking about the honour, said: “We’re delighted that Ireland has been singled out for this award in the United States.

“Travellers nowadays have tremendous choice, which makes it more important than ever for us to ensure the island of Ireland stands out from other destinations – so this award is really good news, coming at the end of another record-breaking year for Irish tourism from the US and as we prepare to kick off another extensive promotional drive in 2017, in this all-important market.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank our travel trade partners across the United States – who continue to play a very important role in helping us to continue to grow visitor numbers to Ireland.

“I would also like to acknowledge the hugely important contribution of our tourism partners from the island of Ireland, who joined us on the ground in the US this year, helping to spread the word about why Ireland is such a great choice for a vacation.

 “2016 will be the fourth record year in a row for visitor numbers to the island of Ireland from North America. By the end of this year, we will have welcomed about 1.6 million American and Canadian visitors, delivering revenue of €1.4 billion for the economy throughout 2016.

“Tourism Ireland has undertaken an extensive, very targeted programme of promotions right throughout 2016, building awareness of the island of Ireland as a premier vacation destination. We look forward to building on this year’s success in 2017 and beyond.”