Pat Dawson is to retire as chief executive of the Irish Travel Agents Association (ITAA) after 13 years in the role.
In a statement, the ITAA said Mr Dawson has informed the Board of his intention to retire from the association at the end of April 2023, after 13 years in the role.
Paul Hackett, President of the ITAA, said: “Pat’s retirement will mark the end of a remarkable career within the Travel Industry. As CEO of the ITAA, he understood the industry so well having started his career with Joe Walsh Tours in the early 1970’s before moving to Aer Lingus Holidays. He then opened his own travel agency, Dawson Travel, in Cork which is operated today by his son Paul. It was at this time he reached the position of President of the ITAA and ultimately became CEO in 2010.
“During Pat’s tenure, he guided the Association through somewhat turbulent times from Ash Clouds to the Covid Pandemic, through the intricacies of the Package Travel Directive and the issues of licensing and bonding for travel agents. At all times he brought his experience and knowledge of the travel industry to bear, forging relationships for the benefit of the ITAA.
“Pat’s legacy to the Irish Travel Agents Association is leaving a strong organisation with increased membership. His tenacity in protecting the Travel Industry during the recent global pandemic ensured many businesses remained intact, receiving much appreciated government support. His work in this area united our industry, bringing other independent trade bodies together.”
Pat Dawson, CEO of the ITAA said: “As I approach my thirteenth year as CEO of the Irish Travel Agents Association, and after almost 50 years in the Travel Industry, I believe now is the right time for me to step down. I look forward to my retirement, devoting more time to my family, looking forward to pursuing my many sporting interests and, of course, spending more time travelling for pleasure.”
In 2015, Pat Dawson was awarded the Medal of the Order of Civil Merit at the behest of His Majesty King Felipe VI of Spain, in recognition of his valuable work towards strengthening relations between Ireland and Spain, particularly in the area of Tourism.
The Board of the ITAA will now begin the process of recruiting a new CEO.
Reacting to the news, ITTN owner and managing director, Sharon Jordan said:
“I’ve known Pat for almost 20 years now and throughout my time in the industry he has been a true leader, visionary, mentor and, above all, a trusted friend. The friend side of me is very happy for Pat, who I know will cherish this time with his wife Cynthia, children Mark and Claudia, Paul and Sonia and Gillian and Tom and his growing brood of grandchildren. The business side of me is sad to see Pat leave as I have come to respect and admire him greatly. Pat is someone who has done much to increase the importance and profile of the ITAA and the travel industry as a whole, particularly over the dark years of the pandemic.
“Pat, you are a legend and your retirement do will be one for the storybooks!”