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Board of Directors

Brian Ambrose (Chairman)

Brian Ambrose OBE, whose career spans 39 years in the aviation industry, has held senior management positions within Bombardier in engineering and business development. In 1997, Mr Ambrose was appointed director of operations at Belfast City Airport, with responsibility for the day-to-day running of the airport. In January 2004, he was appointed chief executive of the airport and is responsible for a growing business with an annual passenger throughput in excess of 2.9 million and currently averaging 120 flights each day. With over 1,600 people currently working at the airport, Belfast City Airport has become a significant employer and contributor to the Northern Ireland economy. Mr Ambrose was chairman of CBI Northern Ireland 2008-2009. He is also chairman of Mencap Northern Ireland; a board member of Business in the Community; and a trustee of the Titanic Foundation and a Board Member of Phoenix Natural Gas. He was awarded an OBE in the New Years Honours in 2011.

Jim Flannery (Vice-Chairman)

Jim Flannery is a graduate of the Shannon College of Hotel Management and worked in the hotel sector in Germany, the UK and Ireland. He subsequently joined Bord Fáilte, where he was head of the Development and Quality Control unit. He served as chief executive of the Irish Hotels Federation from 1978 to 1988 and also served as a council member of the International Hotel and Restaurant Association and as founding vice-president of HOTREC, the hotel and restaurant body within the European Union. From 1991 to 1996 he was managing director of International Tourism Marketing Ltd, which provided marketing and other consultancy services to the Irish tourism sector. Mr Flannery has extensive international tourism experience; he established and was the first chief executive of the national tourist boards of Sierra Leone, Kenya and of the Carpathian tourist board in Ukraine. He also established and/or reorganised the private sector hotel and tourist representative bodies in Oman, Ukraine, Bulgaria and Northern Ireland. Most recently, he has carried out extensive consulting and advisory assignments for the UN World Tourism Organisation in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and India.

Ciara Burke

Ciara Burke is employed within the health improvement field and works closely with community, statutory and industry to address health and well-being needs. Her professional background includes experience in business development, marketing and public relations within a range of sectors. Previous roles have incorporated development of community-based tourism initiatives, product development, delivery of the Welcome to Excellence suite of programmes to the sector, in addition to marketing and event management for a leading visitor attraction.

Denis Cregan

Denis Cregan is currently serving as chairman of Kerry Airport and of One51 plc. He is a retired director of Kerry Group PLC; a graduate of University College Cork; and has previously worked with the Department of Finance, Express Foods, Grand Metropolitan Hotels and Kerry Group where he was a member of the founding management team and served as an executive director until retirement.


Dr Howard Hastings OBE

Dr Howard Hastings is the managing director of Hastings Hotels. He was appointed chairman of the Northern Ireland Tourist Board in January 2009. He is also a director of the Merrion Hotel (which is 50% owned by Hastings Hotels) and a former chairman of the Board of Governors at Rockport School Ltd. During the 1990s he was chairman of the Institute of Directors in Northern Ireland and founding chairman of the Northern Ireland Hotels Federation. Howard has also been a member of Castlereagh College governing body and a board member of Business in the Community and the Bank of Ireland Advisory Board. His previous public appointments include a previous stint at Tourism Ireland (2000-2007), the Training & Employment Agency, Investors in People, New Deal Task Force and the Tourism and Hospitality Training Council. Howard is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales. He holds a law degree from the University of Nottingham and a master’s degree and honorary doctorate from the University of Ulster.

John Healy

John Healy is a director of Abbey Tours and managing director of Moloney & Kelly Travel, the luxury travel division of Abbey Tours. Abbey Tours is Ireland’s biggest inbound tour operator, handling visitors to Ireland each year from over 40 different overseas markets. He has extensive knowledge of the tourism industry, having served for over 25 years at a senior level. He is a past chairman of ITIC – the Irish Tourist Industry Confederation – the key representative body for the tourism industry in Ireland. He has previously served as president of the Incoming Tour Operators Association-Ireland and was a member of the Business Tourism Forum. He is a fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (FCCA).   


David Lyle OBE

David Lyle OBE is the chief executive of advertising agency LyleBailie International Limited and has over 20 years’ experience in destination marketing. His unique experience in North-South co-operation includes producing 20 cross-border TV campaigns on road safety and public service awareness. He is a principal author of 41 award-winning effectiveness case studies and recipient of 248 creative awards – including five Grand Prix. In 2009 he was presented with the David Ogilvy Gold Award by the Advertising Research Foundation in New York. He specialises in evaluating the economic paybacks arising from advertising and was awarded the OBE in 2011 for services to road safety.

Elaine Murphy

Elaine Murphy is an experienced restaurateur and event manager. Having studied history and sociology at Trinity College Dublin and musicology at the College of Music Dublin, she went on to become general manager of award-winning restaurants 101 Talbot, Mermaid Café and Il Primo before opening her own Michelin-bibbed Moes in 2000 and The Winding Stair in 2006. She has worked in mentoring and ambassador programmes with Fáilte Ireland and Tourism Ireland and is a well-known food and restaurant writer/critic for Time Out, Totally Dublin, Food and Wine and many trade magazines. She has been a quality assurance representative for Good Food Ireland since its inception and is currently owner/director and general manager of The Grand Social and The Winding Stair in Dublin’s city centre.

Shaun Quinn

Shaun Quinn is chief executive of Fáilte Ireland, the National Tourism Development Authority. Prior to his appointment in 2002, he was chief executive of CERT, the former state tourism training agency. He joined CERT from Bord Bia – the Irish Food Board – where he held the positions of strategic planning director and later head of marketing.

Derek Reaney

Derek Reaney is from Plumbridge, Co Tyrone and is employed as a development officer with the Ulster-Scots Agency. He has previously worked as a manager of a cross-border peace and reconciliation project, working with rural communities in the North West. He has worked for over 15 years in the community sector and has been particularly involved in a development capacity for marginalised communities and in supporting cultural projects. He has previously been a member of the Strabane Local Strategy Partnership and has served on the board of the North West Investing for Health Partnership and ARC North West Local Action Group. He is a director of the Mourne Valley Credit Union in Newtownstewart, Co Tyrone.

David Rodway

David Rodway is a retired marine consultant. During his career, mostly in sales and marketing (including eight years in Saudi Arabia), he was also managing director of an aquaculture company based in Carlingford Lough from 1990 until 1999 and following his retirement, he continued as a part-time technical consultant. From 2005 to 2011, David served on Belfast City Council and a number of public bodies, including the board of the Belfast Metropolitan College. He has also served on the board of Belfast Visitor & Convention Bureau; and is currently on the board of the Nomadic Trust (a body tasked with completely refurbishing a passenger ferry which served the Titanic off Cherbourg).