This coming Sunday 2nd November 2014 marks the 44th anniversary of the Irish Travel Agents Association, which came about from a merger of the two organisations that represented Irish travel agents in the 1960s – the Association of Irish Travel Agents and the Irish Passenger Travel Agents’ Association. The first meeting of the ITAA was held on 2nd November 1970 in the Newpark Hotel, Kilkenny, when the 112 members elected Michael Walsh as President, Joe Walsh as Vice President, and Michael Kelly as Secretary.
A new Irish Travel Trade News publication, ’50 Years in Irish Travel: A Look at the Past, Present and Future of Travel’, takes a look at the history, and the possible future, of travel agencies, tour operators, aviation, destinations, ferries and cruising, travel technology, and travel organisations.
ITAA members are heading to Southampton tomorrow, Friday 31st October 2014, for their annual conference on a two-night ‘pre-inaugural’ sailing by Royal Caribbean International’s newest ship, Quantum of the Seas, before she makes her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York.
Probably the longest established travel agency in Ireland is J Barter in Patrick Street, Cork, which George Barter’s great-grandfather Joseph started in 1865. Joseph sold bicycles, sewing machines, bound books and, as a side line, sold passages on ships, thereby becoming a ‘Shipping Agent’. With the development of the railways he added ‘Railway Agency’, and that was followed in the mid-1880s by forming an association with the Thomas Cook Company.
Other long-established travel agencies include Fahy Travel in Galway, which is the longest established agency in Connaught having opened as a shipping company in 1880, and Grenham Travel in Athlone, Co Westmeath, established in 1911 when JohnGrenham procured a license as a shipping agent. Like J Barter’s, this was a small part of his main business as bar, grocery, hardware and potato seed merchant at the time.