Maurice Pratt Irish Tourism Industry Confederation Chairman, Airline CEO Willie Walsh, Irish Tourism Industry Confederation CEO Eoghan O’Mara Walsh. Photographer: Paul Sherwood
Irish Tourism Industry Awards announced 15 winning companies as best in category including Aer Lingus and EPIC museum
Airline CEO, Willie Walsh was honoured at the Irish Tourism Industry Awards receiving the 2019 Special Recognition Award for his contribution to Irish tourism. The Awards, organised by the Irish Tourism Industry Confederation (ITIC), Fáilte Ireland and Tourism Ireland also announced 15 winning companies as best in their category from 75 shortlisted finalists.
Willie Walsh’s career path
Willie Walsh became chief executive of International Airlines Group (IAG) when the company was created in January 2011, joining from British Airways where he was chief executive from October 2005. IAG is the parent company of Aer Lingus, British Airways, Iberia and Vueling. It is one of the world’s largest airline groups with 565 aircraft flying to 279 destinations and carrying around 113 million passengers each year. Prior to joining British Airways, he was chief executive at Aer Lingus, a position he was appointed to in the aftermath of 9/11.
Born in Dublin in 1961, Willie joined Aer Lingus in 1979 as a cadet pilot. He held several management positions in Aer Lingus before being appointed chief executive of Futura, a Spanish charter airline owned by Aer Lingus in 1998. He returned to Dublin with Aer Lingus in 2000 where he took up the role of chief operating officer and was subsequently appointed as chief executive in October 2001. He completed a Master of Science in Management and Business Administration at Dublin’s Trinity College in 1992.
Special Recognition Award for contribution to Irish Tourism
Receiving the Special Recognition award, Willie Walsh, said:
Tourism is a key sector for the Irish economy and it is only right that there is a national event to acknowledge and celebrate the best companies, operators and initiatives in this vibrant industry. My congratulations to everyone this evening on their awards and continued success, and thank you for this recognition.
Chairman of the Irish Tourism Industry Confederation (ITIC), Maurice Pratt, presenting to Willie Walsh, commented:
As Chair of ITIC and on behalf of the industry, I congratulate Willie Walsh on his significant contribution to Irish tourism. His work as CEO of Aer Lingus, and latterly as CEO of IAG, has been instrumental in delivering positive change to Irish tourism and we are thrilled to recognise that this evening and congratulate him on his achievements.
Irish tourism and Brexit
Speaking about the Irish tourism industry and the possible implications of Brexit, CEO of ITIC, Eoghan O’Mara Walsh, said:
The Irish tourism industry is worth an estimated €9.2 billion annually and employs 270,000 people right around the country. It is Ireland’s largest indigenous industry and is a massive asset to our economy. With the uncertainty of Brexit and the impact that may be felt, it is imperative that our Government continues to support the sector, so that we can ensure success for many years to come.