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Geraldine Enright takes over from Seán Connick as AVEA Chair


At the Annual General Meeting of AVEA on 17th October 2022, Geraldine Enright, who is Director at the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Centre, was inaugurated as Chair for a term of two years. Geraldine takes over the AVEA chairmanship from her Board colleague Sean Connick.

Sean, who is the CEO of Dunbrody Famine Ship and John F Kennedy Trust in Co Wexford, steered the Association through the pandemic, in a role which involved attending over 40 industry advisory meetings on behalf of Visitor Experiences and Attractions (VEAs), and uniting the membership in advocacy for vital supports to keep the sector alive. In concluding his Chairmanship, Sean said ‘It has been my pleasure and privilege to lead AVEA through a challenging period which saw extensive rolling closures and difficult days, but a strong reopening and an optimistic future. VEAs are recognised by the tourism agencies and our Minister as vital destination drivers, providing visitors with the important reasons to choose Ireland, and to choose regions in which to spend their time. Visitor attractions provide the ‘things to see and do’ that create lasting impressions and make memories for holiday-makers from all over the world, and it is a sector that is rich with culture, heritage and story-telling. I wish Geraldine the very best of luck in her role, and I know she will be well supported by her board and CEO.’

Geraldine’s inauguration as Chair coincides with an important development at AVEA with the recent appointment of the Association’s first CEO. ‘Since its foundation in 2017, AVEA has gone from strength to strength, and in fact the Covid period was a time of growth for the Association, as managers of visitor attractions all around the country recognised the value of being members of an industry group, delivering strength in togetherness in our advocacy, research and networking support’, says Geraldine. ‘ We now number over 100 member sites all over Ireland, from iconic locations like the Guinness Storehouse and Kylemore Abbey, to strategically important destinations like our neighbours the Aillwee Burren Experience and Bunratty Castle, Hook Lighthouse, Birr Castle, and Spike Island. I look forward to chairing the Association as it continues its growth in representing the important VEA sector, working closely with CEO Catherine, with our members and partners, the national tourism agencies Fáilte Ireland and Tourism Ireland, and the Department, in helping AVEA to achieve its full potential.’