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Finola o’Mahony TOUrISM IrELanD Finola O’Mahony worked at some of the biggest international marketing companies in the world before joining Tourism Ireland as head of Europe just over three years ago, when she embarked on her current mission to attract more European tourists to Ireland. “I worked with Gillette, Johnson & Johnson and E&J Gallo Winery and lived in France, Switzerland, the US and Japan. This has given me a great perspective on consumer tastes the world over,” says O’Mahony, who currently works out of London where she manages teams stretched across western Europe. “It is really important to visit our offices and interact with our staff and get their points of view and draw on their ideas. This involves spending a lot of time on the road,” she says. “Being based in London is very convenient because of all the flight destinations to European cities.” Despite the poor headlines generated around the world by Ireland’s economic crisis, O’Mahony says the Ireland brand remains strong and can contribute to the country’s recovery. “Europeans know Ireland has been going through the wars but they like Ireland and they think it is better value for money now compared to a few years ago. People come here for the wonderful scenery and the wonderful people, not the economy,” she says. To help re-invigorate international tourism, next year Ireland will hold “The Gathering”, a year-long series of events aimed at attracting anyone with Irish blood or a connection to the country to visit. “Tourism can play a part in the economic regeneration of the country,” says O’Mahony. “There are a couple of hundred thousand people working in the industry, which supports a host of indigenous businesses.”

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october/november 2012

CARA MAGAZINE October/November 2012  

Aer Lingus In Flight magazine

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