Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland
Niall Gibbons is Chief Executive of Tourism Ireland. He oversees the marketing of the island across the world, leading a team of over 160 staff in over 20 markets, whose work is underpinned by sustainable destination marketing principles.
Over 11 million overseas visitors in 2019 contributed over €5.8BN to the island economies and supported 325,000 jobs. Niall led Tourism Ireland's expansion into new markets such as China and the Middle East, and oversaw the organisation's emergence as a leader in digital marketing and social media. He developed ground-breaking partnerships with LucasFilm and HBO which allowed Tourism Ireland to leverage the global success of Star Wars and Game of Thrones to showcase the island of Ireland overseas, in a new way. He led the development of Tourism Ireland's Global Greening initiative, which has brought tourism to the heart of St Patrick's Day celebrations across the world. The World Economic Forum has ranked Ireland 3rd in the world out of 136 countries for 'effectiveness of marketing and branding to attract tourists'.
Niall is a business graduate of Trinity College, Dublin and a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland. He sits on the Irish Government's Export Trade Council, has been a member of the post-Covid Tourism Recovery Taskforces in both Ireland and Northern Ireland, a member of Culture Ireland's Expert Advisory Committee and an Honorary Fellow of the Institute of Hospitality in Ireland.
Paul Keeley – Director, Regional Development, Fáilte Ireland
Paul is Director, Regional Development for Fáilte Ireland. Since joining the tourism development authority in 2004 Paul was actively involved in the development of the Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland’s Ancient East, Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands and Dublin brands. Paul is also accountable for developing and implementing the organisation’s Product Sales & Distribution, Business Tourism and Industry B2B Promotional Platform supports. Prior to joining Fáilte Ireland, Paul worked with well-known businesses including Musgrave SuperValu Centra; Eircell, Vodafone, Diageo, Beecham of Ireland and Cantrell & Cochrane.
Catherine Toolan, Managing Director, Irish Brand Homes, Diageo
Catherine Toolan joined Diageo on April 6th as Managing Director Irish Brand Homes, which include the Guinness Storehouse, Guinness Open Gate Brewery, Roe & Co Distillery and the Smithwick’s Experience in Kilkenny. From Sligo, Catherine has had a very successful career in the conference, events, live music and hospitality industry spanning three continents. Catherine was responsible for managing the delivery of the Athletes Village at the Beijing and London Olympic Games.
Catherine’s most recent role as Chief Executive of the International Convention Centre, Belfast seen her transform the organisation to compete globally, and work with key stakeholders to develop a business tourism strategy, winning large business events and contributing significant economic impact to Belfast and Northern Ireland. Catherine was also responsible for driving revenue growth in music and arts at the Waterfront Hall and Ulster Hall, two of Belfast’s most iconic entertainment venues through a Digital First Strategy and in collaboration with leading global music and entertainment promoters.
Prior to this Catherine spent over twelve years overseeing the food service, hospitality and retail for elite athletes at the Summer Olympic and Asian Games in Beijing, Guangzhou, London and Rio De Janeiro including leading all organisational activities to design, build, execute and troubleshoot some of the largest food service projects in the world.
Catherine is a proud GMIT graduate. She also has a MBS from UCD, a postgraduate diploma from Tsinghua University, Beijing and a Diploma in Company Direction from the Institute of Directors.