The outgoing Chairman of Tourism Ireland, Brian Ambrose, has praised the work of Tourism Ireland following his final board meeting in Belfast today, saying the team were “doing a fantastic job for Northern Ireland”.
Mr Ambrose said:
“Over my five-year tenure as Chairman, Tourism Ireland employees, across the world, have delivered terrific results for Northern Ireland and in doing so greatly benefited the local economy.
“The facts speak for themselves.
“Since I became Chair, the board’s strategy has contributed to a 34% increase in overseas visitors.
“2016 will be another record year with almost 2.1 million international visitors to Northern Ireland, with revenue generated expected to be £527 million.
“Those are figures of which any organization would be justifiably proud and are recognised by the tourism and hospitality sector in Northern Ireland.
“This remarkable growth in Northern Ireland has kept pace with the growth in Republic of Ireland, this despite a 9% VAT rate on tourism businesses and zero air passenger duty.”
Mr Ambrose also praised the close relationship between Tourism Ireland and Tourism NI.
“Under the strong leadership of Tourism NI Chief Executive John McGrillen, the two organisations have worked closer than ever, particularly in the delivery and promotion of NI Year of Food and Drink which, judging by industry feedback, has been a resounding success.
“Having met with hospitality and tourism leaders at a dinner this week, they are buoyant after another fantastic year in Northern Ireland.
“World beaters such as Titanic Belfast have witnessed record numbers of overseas visitors, Northern Ireland hoteliers are investing in new hotels and facilities to cope with demand and I expect this trend to continue.”
Mr Ambrose passes over the reins of Chair to Joan O’Shaughnessy, one of Ireland’s most influential and experienced businesswomen.
Mr Ambrose continued:
“During my tenure as Chairman, I’ve led a strong and dedicated Board. I’m delighted to be handing over the reins to Joan, who will excel in the position and bring strong leadership.
“I am confident she will oversee yet another record year of growth for international visitors to Northern Ireland.
“There is no doubt that Tourism Ireland is a vital cog, not only in the Northern Ireland tourism and hospitality sector, but the Northern Ireland economy and I wish the organisation, the board, employees and its stakeholders every continued success.”