WELCOME ON BOARD Pictured at the announcement of Tim Husbands as the new CEO of Westport House and Hotel Westport were, from left: Cathal Hughes, Tim Husbands, Owen Hughes and Harry Hughes. Pic: Keith Heneghan/Phocus
The Hughes Group in Westport, have today, Wednesday, November 8, announced the appointment of Tim Husbands, MBE, as the new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for Westport House and Hotel Westport.
Mr Husbands has held the position of Chief Executive of Titanic Belfast (TBL International) since 2011. The attraction was crowned World’s Leading Tourist Attraction at the current World Travel Awards.
Brothers Cathal, Owen and Harry Hughes of The Hughes Group have just completed the acquisition of the historic Westport House and estate from the Browne family. Last week Harry Hughes was named EY Entrepreneur of the Year.
Commenting on the appointment, Owen Hughes (Director, The Hughes Group) said: “This marks the beginning of an exciting new phase for Westport House and Hotel Westport. Tim Husbands brings vast tourism, capital project and industry experience and ability, and is the ideal person to build a leading, recognisable international brand and destination here in Westport. We look forward to working with him.”
Tim Husbands’ previous roles include Managing Director of Belfast’s Waterfront Hall and the Ulster Hall, Head of City Events and Venues at Belfast City Council and Managing Director of the Riviera Centre in Torquay. In 2014, his services to Economic Development and Tourism were recognised at the highest level when he was awarded an MBE by HM, The Queen.
Under Mr Husbands’ leadership, Titanic Belfast has established itself on the local, national and international stage. This experience positions him perfectly to develop the Westport tourism businesses which have a development budget of €50 million.
‘Extremely exciting development’
Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring, TD, stated “I wish to congratulate Tim Husbands MBE on his appointment. He has created an astonishing legacy of success in the north of this island and I look forward to him taking his talent, experience and enthusiasm to the west of Ireland. Through his involvement in Titanic Belfast, he has impacted on the lives and livelihoods of countless local people who have benefitted from the influx of visitors to Belfast and Northern Ireland. Tim’s appointment is an extremely exciting development and I wish Tim and the Hughes family all the very best in the coming years”.
Chief Executive of Mayo County Council, Mr Peter Hynes said: “Mayo County Council warmly welcomes the appointment of Mr Tim Husbands as CEO for Westport House and Hotel Westport. Tim’s unique blend of experience and enthusiasm will be a huge asset in establishing Westport House as a world class visitor destination. Our own tourism team look forward to working with Tim and all the crew at Westport House and to realising the potential of one of the truly special Irish places, for the benefit of the town of Westport, the county of Mayo and indeed the entire West of Ireland in the years ahead.”
When completed, Westport House and its 400 acre estate will be a state-of-the-art resort, complete with Museum, Conference Centre and Events Centre. The facility will cater for large and small conferences, large outdoor concerts and other events, and will be tailored as a family-friendly tourist destination. Westport House itself will be developed as a Museum House that can also cater for large, high-end conferences and weddings. Hotel Westport will double in size and other tourist-related facilities will be built using existing older buildings where possible. The objective is to attract one million tourists per annum. Mr Husbands takes up his new position in February 2018.