ITAA chief Pat Dawson to retire

End of an era as lobbyist who led travel industry through Covid-19 announces departure

Irish Travel Agents’ Association (ITAA) chief executive, Pat Dawson, will retire next month, marking the end of an era for the industry.

Mr Dawson has told the association’s board that he intends to step down at the end of April following 13 years as chief executive. He has worked in the travel business for almost half a century.

Paul Hackett, ITAA president, said the move would end a remarkable career during which Mr Dawson led the industry through turbulence caused by everything from “ash clouds to the Covid pandemic”.

Mr Dawson led the organisation as the industry grappled with the EU’s Package Travel Directive and licensing and bonding issues.


“At all times he brought his experience and knowledge of the travel industry to bear, forging relationships for the benefit of the ITAA,” added Mr Hackett.

Mr Dawson began his career with Joe Walsh Tours, then moved to Aer Lingus Holidays. He subsequently opened his own business, Dawson Travel in Cork, which his son, Paul Dawson, now runs.

He said that after almost 50 years in the travel business, including 13 as ITAA chief executive, he had decided that now was the right time to retire.

Mr Hackett noted that Mr Dawson would leave the ITAA as a strong organisation with increased membership.

“His tenacity in protecting the travel industry during the recent pandemic ensured many businesses remained intact, receiving much-appreciated Government support.”

Mr Dawson plans to spend more time with his family, pursuing his interest in sport and travel.

During his career, Spain awarded Mr Dawson the Medal of the Order of Civil Merit, at King Felipe VI’s behest, in recognition of his work on strengthening ties between the two nations.

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O’Halloran covers energy, construction, insolvency, and gaming and betting, among other areas