The Northern Ireland Tourism Alliance (NITA) was founded in
January 2018 as a private-sector-led ‘voice’ of the
Tourism Industry in Northern Ireland. The Alliance provides a new, united and
single voice for the sector it represents – and is the first (and only)
organisation which represents the entire tourism industry.
The Board of the Northern Ireland Tourism Alliance will be led by the well-known and industry-respected face of British Airways in Northern Ireland, Brenda Morgan MBE.
Dr Joanne Stuart OBE joined NITA in March 2019. A former Chairman of the Institute of Directors in Northern Ireland, Joanne is a highly experienced and well-regarded business leader.
Joanne is part of the Tourism Recovery Steering Group, established by the NI Minister for the Economy and represents the NI Tourism Industry on the UK Tourism Industry Emergency Response Group and the UK Tourism Industry Council. Outside of NITA, Joanne is a member of a number of charity boards including The Irish Times Trust, Council of Ulster University and Wallace High School Board of Governors.
NITA’s role, as the single representative body for the tourism industry in Northern Ireland, is to represent our members and ensure the voice of industry is listened to, to shape the future growth of tourism and lobbying at all levels of government and beyond to raise awareness of and contribute to the solution of major strategic issues affecting the industry.
These currently include securing the future of tourism in the Covid-19 environment, navigating the best course for Tourism as we face the end of the EU Exit transition period and lobbying for the abolishment of APD and extending the reduction in VAT on Tourism Services for another 12 months.
Brenda, who is the Head of Development at City of Derry Airport, has over 30 years’ experience in the airline industry, previously working with British Airways as the Key Partnership Manager, responsible for managing British Airways’ trade, corporate and industry relationships in Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland and with BMI as Ireland Sales Manager.
Brenda took up the role of Chair of the Northern Ireland Tourism Alliance in 2018. Brenda was awarded an MBE in the 2017 New Year’s Honours list for services to the economy in Northern Ireland.
Janice Gault is a graduate of Trinity College Dublin holding a BA Hons and a Post Graduate Diploma in Management.
She began her career in the handicapped services in Dublin before moving into industry holding a variety of roles in manufacturing eventually specialising in the commercial and customer service areas.
Originally from Londonderry, she returned to the province in 1995 working with John Cleland & Son, a large carton manufacturer and M&S supplier. Her next role was as the marketing director at Odyssey where she was part of the launch team for Northern Ireland’s landmark Millennium Project.
Janice took up the role of Chief Executive with the Northern Ireland Hotels Federation in 2002 and sits on a variety of boards representing the hotel sector. Her role is to represent the hotel sector and ensure their needs are addressed within the civic and political forum.
A keen traveller her hobbies include literature, water sports and travel.
Karen Magill is the Chief Executive of Bus and Coach NI, a position which she has held for twenty years.
Bus and Coach NI Northern Ireland, is a non-profit organisation representing the Northern Ireland's leading bus and coach operators and industry suppliers. Bus and Coach NI members range from the smallest family businesses to the large public operator, Translink, and they all understand the importance of working together for the greater good of passengers and each other.
Karen is married and has two daughters. Karen is a Management Accountant and has worked in industry locally and internationally for over 30 years specialising in finance and general management. She has worked with companies of various sizes from SME’s to larger organisations.
Internationally, Karen has worked on a number of projects for Centrehouse International in countries such as Europe USA and the Far East. Locally, Karen became a mentor for the Business in the Community Scheme which matches small businesses to business leaders according to skills and expertise. It was through this work that she became involved in the passenger transport industry.
Anne McMullan is the Senior Director at Visit Belfast, heading up the Marketing, Communications and Commercial Partnership Department.
Having joined Visit Belfast in 2008, her responsibilities include the development and execution of city marketing campaigns in the Island of Ireland, Great Britain and Europe; the delivery of Visit Belfast’s business plans, engaging with local and international media; and the development of the agency’s commercial and partnership platforms.
With 25 years marketing communications experience, Anne was previously Head of Business Tourism Marketing at National Museums NI.
Anne also sits on the Board of Belfast Chamber of Trade and Commerce and is passionate about the renaissance of Belfast as a vibrant visitor destination.
Aviation Development Manager at Belfast City Airport, Ellie McGimpsey has responsibility for sustaining and growing the airport’s aviation business. Her focus is on attracting new routes and bringing new airlines into Northern Ireland, to the benefit of the whole business community and tourism sector.
The breadth of her role, spanning strategy, business development, sales, marketing and PR, commercial negotiations and aviation and economic policy, keeps her engaged at every level of the business and within the business community of Northern Ireland.
Ellie is a member of the CBI NI’s Future Leaders’ Network and Visit Belfast’s Business Development Task Force and a former Chair and Board Member of the Oh Yeah Music Centre. Ellie lives in Bangor with her young family, and is a graduate of the University of Bath.
Judith Owens is CEO at TBL International Ltd, parent company to the award- winning Titanic Belfast, SS Nomadic and the Titanic Exhibition Centre. With experience spanning nearly three decades, Judith is one of UK’s the most experienced and established operations management professionals.
Judith has an exceptional track record in the tourism, events and media industries. Titanic Belfast has gone from strength to strength under her leadership, welcoming close to 5 million visitors from over 145 countries and winning World’s Leading Tourist Attraction at the prestigious 2016 World Travel Awards. Judith has also played a fundamental role in the business’ commercial development to include the operation of SS Nomadic (April 2015) and the Titanic Exhibition Centre (September 2015).
Judith currently serves as a board member of Visit Belfast, the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions, and the Northern Ireland Tourism Alliance.
Judith was awarded an MBE for services to Tourism in the 2022 New Year Honours
Rainer Pagel is a German National who came to Northern Ireland in 1971 and made his career in Community Development. He is a grandfather of two teenagers and lives in Belfast. He has a keen interest in tourism development and the visual Arts and is a practising performance artist – time allowing!
His employment history ranges from coordinating a neighbourhood based urban community development organisation to leading the principal Northern Ireland charity for young people with disabilities, via working as Head of Training and Deputy Director for 16 years for NICVA, Northern Ireland’s umbrella body for the voluntary and community sectors and managing a European Peace Project in Co Armagh for three years. In 2013, Rainer joined Production Services Ireland, Ireland’s premier lighting and audio production business as its Head of Training.
Rainer has also worked extensively as management and organisational development consultant in Poland, Bulgaria, Portugal, and USA, and was a founder member and first president of the European Third Sector Training Network, based in Brussels. He has written a wide range of training manuals and materials and published a fundraising handbook for Central and Eastern European NGOs. He has organised and given papers at international conferences on issues of community development, youth work, training and management for voluntary sector organisations.
Rainer has represented the voluntary, youth and community sectors on a large number of committees and working groups, and has chaired the Belfast Traveller Sites Project, the NI Education and Training Consortium, the UK Steering Group for NVQs in Community Development, and a local arts group. Further past engagements were as treasurer of YouthNet and Board member of Playboard. In 2013, he was invited to join the Northern Ireland committee of Arthritis Care NI and became its chair in 2017.
Rainer enjoys guiding for German tourists and joined the committee of TourGuidesNI in 2016, taking on the role of Treasurer. His key interest in tourism is to establish a professional training framework for tour guides to guarantee the best possible experience for visitors to Northern Ireland.
Luke Petherbridge is Senior Public Affairs Manager at ABTA – The UK’s largest travel trade association. Luke joined ABTA in July 2011, initially to focus on the association’s European policy portfolio and the revision of the EU Package Travel Directive, in particular. Luke is now the day-to-day lead of ABTA’s public affairs and policy agenda, in the UK and Europe, and is also actively involved with the Tourism Alliance (UK wide) in London.
Communications and Marketing Director
Allison joined Belfast Harbour in October 2019, after spending more than ten years at Diageo, as Corporate Relations Director GB and as Communications and Public Affairs lead in a number of European and Global leadership roles. Allison has more than 20 years’ experience in reputation management, brand building and marketing, gaining diverse experience in internal and external communications and brand marketing from both private and public sectors roles. Before joining Diageo her career included five years in Government communications and five years in PR consultancy. She is a former Director of the British Brands Group and former Board Trustee with Titanic Foundation.
Michelle has been employed in Hospitality, Leisure, Travel and Tourism for over thirty years. The majority of her career to date has been in Senior Management /Marketing Consulting roles and she is also a former lecturer in Hospitality and Tourism.
Michelle is the current Chair at Visit Derry. She has seen the tourism industry grow from its infancy over the years with investment in a wide range of businesses and new products. Michelle is passionate about seeing Derry flourish and grow and strongly believes the city has something to offer everyone.
Michelle is a member of FISMM and a member of IOEE. She is also passionate about education and the development of skills in our young people across the FATER sector.
Michelle is married to Paul with two grown up daughters, Nicole and Áine.
Catherine Burns is Chair of the N I Tourist Guiding Association, a long established professional organisation which will be celebrating its 30th Anniversary in 2022. She became involved with Tourism in 2015 and is now able to combine her love of meeting people and local history whilst conducting tours around NI. Catherine represents NI at the World Federation of Tourist Guides and also Federation of European Guides.
For the past six years she has been on the Board of Governors at Belfast Metropolitan College and was responsible for establishing and Chairing the first Human Resources Committee. She is passionate about further education and equality of opportunity and also enjoys her contribution to mentoring at the College.
Catherine was formerly Head of Corporate Services with the N I Transport Holding Company (parent Company for Translink) and during her long career with the Company she undertook many projects, one was developing and introducing two Equality Schemes and as part of a small Committee undertook a 2 year Organisational Development Programme for Managerial Staff. She is a member of the Chartered Institute for Personnel & Development and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. She has been involved with the Belfast Samaritans for many years during which time she has held the posts of Recruitment Director and Chair of the Strategic Fundraising Committee.
Catherine was awarded an MBE in 2009 for services to Public Transport and the wider Community.
Appointed Chairman of Tourism Northern Ireland in April 2015, Terence is also the current Chairman of the Maze Long Kesh Development Corporation (MLKDC). MLKDC is responsible for the regeneration and development of a site which, at 347 acres, is twice the size of Titanic Quarter and four times the size of Canary Wharf.
He is Chairman of Ashfield Solutions, Chairman of BrandBlack Ltd, a Board member of Co-operation Ireland, a Visiting Professor attached to the Business Institute, Ulster Business School at the University of Ulster, founder and former CEO of Connected Health Limited, a former Chairman of the CBI in Northern Ireland and was the founder and CEO of resource™, one of Northern Ireland’s largest private sector employers.
Terence is also a former Director at Compass Group which, with a market capitalisation of over £23Bn, is currently number 23 in the FTSE 100.
Terence is married to Sharon and has a daughter, Kathryn, and two sons, Rhauri and Fionnbharr.
Shane Clarke is the Director of Corporate Services, Policy and Northern Ireland at Tourism Ireland. He previously worked with Maguire & Paterson Sales & Marketing Limited as Managing Director. Prior to that, he was Chief Financial Officer at ConocoPhillips Ireland. He also held a number of senior Commercial and Financial roles during his 15 years at Diageo.
At Tourism Ireland he is responsible for Corporate & Industry Communications, Information & Communications Technology, Finance and Human Resources. Shane has an extensive background in policy, tourism, and corporate governance with experience in both public and private sectors.
Jacqui Dixon, BSc, MBA, commenced employment with Newtownabbey Borough Council as Economic Development Manager in 1999. In 2005 she was appointed as Director of Development Services at Craigavon Borough Council and returned to Newtownabbey in 2007 to take up the post of Director of Development Services. Jacqui went on to be appointed Chief Executive of Newtownabbey Borough Council in 2012 and subsequently Chief Executive of the merged Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council in March 2014.
Over the past six years, Jacqui, working with ambitious Elected Members and talented employees has reshaped the Council’s operating model, reduced costs, and improved and expanded services and outcomes for our customers and residents.
Through leadership, partnership working, empowerment and a focus on outcomes, Jacqui’s attention is focused on implementing the key objectives of the Council’s Covid Recovery and Corporate Plans which aim to improve the environment, encourage and support economic growth, engage and empower local communities and improve the lifestyles of residents.
From June 2020 to June 2021 Jacqui was the Chair of SOLACE NI, the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives. SOLACE acts as the professional voice for local government and aims to lead and manage the collective role of NI’s 11 strong and successful Councils in transforming the lives of citizens.