The sun shone and the cava flowed in Thomas Prior Hall, Dublin, as ITAA Chief Executive Pat Dawson was honoured in the presence of his family and friends.
Pat has been awarded the Medal of the Order of Civil Merit at the behest of His Majesty King Felipe VI of Spain in recognition of his valuable work towards strengthening relations between Ireland and Spain, particularly in the area of tourism. He was presented with the Medal, at a ceremony hosted by the Spanish Embassy in Ireland, in Thomas Prior Hall, Ballsbridge, Dublin.
In 2015 1.68 million Irish residents travelled to Spain and this is set to rise to over 1.7 million in 2016. The majority of Irish holidaymakers travel to Spain in the summer months, between June and September, but the country is becoming a year-round destination for Irish people due to its excellent cultural attractions, gastronomy, sporting events and ski resorts.
Pat said: “I am delighted and honoured to be selected to receive the Medal of the Order of Civil Merit. Spain and Ireland have been important partners in tourism for many years and I have always considered it a pleasure to foster this important relationship. I am supremely appreciative and humbled to be acknowledged in this way.”
Speaking of the Order of the Civil Merit, Gonzalo Ceballos, Director, Spanish Tourism Office in Dublin, said: “Pat is extremely deserving of this honour and I am delighted that his tremendous work in building trade relations between Ireland and Spain has been recognised by King Felipe VI. This award is a symbol of Spain’s appreciation of Pat and his role in nurturing the bond between our two nations, particularly in relation to tourism.”
A familiar face in the Irish travel industry, Pat Dawson founded Cork-based travel agency Dawson Travel in 1991. For many years Pat served on the ITAA board before being appointed President in 2011. He was then appointed Chief Executive in 2012 and has since held this role. He also serves on the board of ECTAA, the primary representative body of travel agents and tour operators in the European Union.
The Order of Civil Merit was established by King Alfonso XIII in 1926 “to reward the civic virtues of civil servants as well as the extraordinary services to the nation of Spanish and foreign subjects”.