First woman ITAA president named as chief executive

The Irish Travel Agents Association’s first female president has been named as chief executive of the trade body.

Clare Dunne, who was president from 2012 to 2014, succeeds Pat Dawson on his retirement.

She will assume the role in July.

Dunne, who started her travel industry career as a reservations agent for Aer Lingus, opened her own travel agency, The Travel Broker, in 1994, having worked in a number of agencies.

She said: “I could not be more thrilled and honoured to accept this appointment from the board of the ITAA. 

“Serving this industry and giving it my all is in my DNA. The significance of being named the organisation’s first female CEO is not lost on me; I look forward to building on the great work of my colleagues to grow our industry at home and abroad.

“As The Travel Broker moves on to a new chapter I will look back on my many years there very fondly and I look forward to the exciting challenges and opportunities afforded to me in this new position.”

ITAA president Paul Hackett said: “A leader in the Irish travel industry with over 40 years’ experience building a successful business, long lasting professional relationships and personal networks, Clare Dunne is a passionate advocate of excellent service, lifelong learning and leadership.

“I know all of us at the Iata are delighted to have Clare at the forefront of all matters pertaining to the Irish travel industry, representing travel agents and associates with her decades of experience and dedication to quality in all matters.”

He added: “Clare was an essential member of the ITAA public affairs committee who linked in with the Department of Transport and CAR to secure business supports for the travel trade throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, assisting in the leading of the industry at a critical juncture. The ITAA could not be in more capable hands.”

Dunne co-founded the Association of Women Travel Executives (AWTE) in Ireland 2017 and served as chair from then until she handed over to a new committee in March. 

She previously she served as national president of Network, Organisation for Women in Business, the Professions & the Arts having also spent a year as president of their Dublin branch. 

She is a member of the North Dublin Business Network and recently concluded her term as chair of Clontarf Business Association.

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