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22 Apr 2015

Tourism Ireland director elected vice-chair of the European Travel Commission

Tourism Ireland’s central marketing director, Mark Henry, has been elected vice-chair of the European Travel Commission (ETC), the organisation of European tourist boards.

The election took place today at the general meeting of the ETC in Riga, Latvia.

The European Travel Commission comprises 33 national tourism organisations (NTOs) that co-operate to grow visitor numbers to Europe from long-haul markets. Ireland was a founding member of the ETC, which was created in 1948, and has a long tradition of involvement with the organisation.

Mark Henry has actively represented Ireland at all levels in the ETC for the past 12 years – on its Market Intelligence Group and at general meetings and is currently serving on its board. He leads the Central Marketing Division of Tourism Ireland, where his responsibilities include strategy development, research, marketing communications and content generation, e-marketing and customer engagement. Mark’s new responsibilities in the ETC will include leading an initiative to seek improvement in the European visa regime for long-haul travellers.

Mark Henry, Tourism Ireland’s central marketing director, said: “I am delighted to have been elected a vice-chair of the European Travel Commission. There has never been a better time for European countries to work together to grow long-haul tourism, given the economic growth recently experienced by China, Brazil, Russia and even the USA. However, the growth of new tourism destinations in Asia, the Middle East and South America also means that Europe will have to work harder than ever before to win its share of global tourism. Ireland is a success story in international tourism and I believe that there is a lot we can contribute with our European partners to ensure premium growth for Europe in the years ahead.”

The president of the ETC is the CEO of Visit Flanders, Peter de Wilde. The first occasion that Ireland held a vice-chair position was 55 years ago, at a time when a Belgian also held the presidency. Ireland was represented on that occasion by the general manager of the “Irish Tourist Board”, Kevin O’Doherty. The director-general of Bord Fáilte, Dr Tim O’Driscoll, was a president of the organisation from 1965 to 1971 and became the first full-time executive director of the ETC upon his retirement.

The other two vice-chairs, also elected today in Riga, are the CEOs of Visit Iceland, Ólöf Ýrr Atladóttir, and Turismo de Portugal, João Cotrim de Figueiredo.  

  Eduardo Santander, executive director of the European Travel Commission (ETC) (right), congratulates Mark Henry, Tourism Ireland, on his election as vice-chair of the ETC.

Notes To Editors

  • Tourism Ireland is the organisation responsible for promoting the island of Ireland overseas as a leading holiday destination.
  • Tourism is the island of Ireland’s largest indigenous industry; responsible for in excess of 4% of GNP in the Republic of Ireland and employing approximately 200,000 people.
  • In 2014, we welcomed an estimated 8.6 million overseas visitors to the island of Ireland, delivering revenue of about €4.26 billion. Overseas tourism business accounts for 59% of all tourism revenue.
  • Tourism Ireland’s international website is, available in ten different language versions for over 30 individual markets around the world. In 2014, attracted about 14.25 million visitors.