Cathy Burke, General Manager, Travel Counsellors Ireland, is celebrating 40 years of travel industry excellence this June. This year marks the important milestone for Cathy, who is also Director of International Business Development at Travel Counsellors, reflecting her hard-work and dedication to the travel industry over the past four decades.
Cathy first began her career in the travel industry in 1978 with Noel Martin Travel in Dublin. From there, she went on to work at many other travel agencies and tour operators including Hickson Holidays and Tara Travel. In 2000 she set up her own business providing training and consultancy to travel agents across Ireland. She also served on several Irish Travel Agents Association (ITAA) committees and was co-ordinator of the Worldchoice Group. Other achievements include training travel industry personnel on the introduction of service fees, when airlines eliminated commission.
Cathy said: “I have been in the travel industry for 40 years and, while there have been ups and down along the journey, it has been an exciting and satisfying career for me. I still have the job confirmation letter from Noel Martin Travel dating back to 1978 framed on my home-office wall and that piece of paper changed my life in ways I never thought possible.
“The travel industry has changed so much — where we once relied solely on phones and faxes to book flights, now we have fast modern digital technology. It is almost worth celebrating that alone. Every year it has been so interesting to see the shifts in the industry, and I have enjoyed tailoring my work to welcome these changes as they come.”
The Travel Counsellors Ireland operation was established by Cathy in 2005, and there are now over 75 self-employed Travel Counsellors operating across the country. At the Irish Head Office in Cork, where Cathy is based, there is a core team supporting each of the Travel Counsellors.
Cathy added: “Travel Counsellors has given me unrivalled opportunities to learn and grow, allowed me to build a fantastic team of whom I am incredibly proud, and offered me the chance to work closely with some of the most talented travel specialists in the country and around the globe. I am truly honoured to work in the business that I love, and with a company that I love too, and I plan to celebrate for the next 12 months!”
Steve Byrne, Chief Executive, Travel Counsellors, said: “Cathy Burke is a hugely talented, very special leader and person, and we are privileged to have her as part of the Travel Counsellors family.
“She has been the driving force behind Travel Counsellors in Ireland since its beginning and her passion for the business and our people has made it the success it is today. Cathy has boundless energy and commitment and an unerring ability to identify and develop the very best talent. She has built an exceptionally talented team in our Cork office and hand selected only the very best to join us as Travel Counsellors, reflecting our commitment to care for our customers and our people.
“I am looking forward to celebrating further milestones with Cathy as Travel Counsellors Ireland continues to grow from strength to strength, offering the opportunity for travel professionals to enjoy the flexibility of doing the job they love from home and providing an unrivalled level of care to their customers using our world-class technology. Cathy and her talented team continue to create something special for Travel Counsellors in Ireland, which is a future without limits.”