Irish tourism chief will step down after 21 years with organisation

Irish tourism chief will step down after 21 years with organisation

NIALL GIBBONS, Chief Executive of Tourism Ireland, will step down from the role in April after 21 years with the organisation.

Mr Gibbons has spent the last 14 years as Chief Executive of the Irish tourism agency and has played a part in every aspect of the promotion of the island of Ireland as a tourism destination overseas, since the set-up of Tourism Ireland following the Good Friday Agreement in 1998.

Christopher Brooke, Chairman of Tourism Ireland, said: “I would like to thank Niall for his outstanding leadership and commitment to tourism over the last 21 years.

“Tourism Ireland has been one of the great success stories of the Good Friday/Belfast Agreement, demonstrating that compromise and goodwill can build a better future for all of us”

He added: “Under Niall's leadership, the island of Ireland's reputation abroad has grown significantly.

“Initiatives like the renowned Global Greening on St Patrick's Day around the world, screen tourism partnerships like Game of Thrones with HBO and Star Wars with Lucasfilm Ltd have put Tourism Ireland at the cutting edge of marketing and branding effectiveness.

“Northern Ireland has also seen its tourism fortunes transformed in Niall's time, with the promotion of iconic experiences like Titanic Belfast and Northern Ireland's world-class golf product.

“It is no wonder that the World Economic Forum has ranked Ireland third out of 140 countries for tourism marketing and branding effectiveness. The Board will now progress to an open international competition for a new Chief Executive to build the long-term, sustainable future for the industry.”

Mr Gibbons said: “After 21 wonderful years with Tourism Ireland, almost 14 as Chief Executive, I have informed the Chairman of my intention to step down from my role in April 2023.

“Being CEO of Tourism Ireland, leading an exceptionally talented team, has been a great honour and privilege.

“I started with the company just after 9/11 and tourism has weathered many challenges since then, including Covid-19.

“As we approach the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, which gave rise to Tourism Ireland, the time is right for a new challenge.

“I want to thank everyone for all the support I have received over the last 21 years. I wish the staff of Tourism Ireland and the tourism industry well in 2023 and beyond.”

Irish Travel Minister Catherine Martin paid tribute to the outgoing CEO this week, stating: “I want to take this opportunity to acknowledge Niall Gibbons’ contribution to Tourism Ireland.

“Niall, who will step down as CEO in April, played a key role in the development of the organisation through its formative years and has overseen its emergence as a world leader in tourism marketing.

“The record levels of growth in tourist numbers, and associated revenues over the past decade, is testament to his hard work and leadership.

“I wish to thank him for over 20 years of outstanding service to Irish tourism and I wish him every success in the future.”