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Westport businessman appointed a director of Fáilte Ireland

Noel Kavanagh

Noel Kavanagh appointed a director of Fáilte Ireland

Westport businessman Noel Kavanagh has been appointed a member of the board of directors of Fáilte Ireland, formerly Bord Fáilte, the State’s premier tourism promotion agency.
The appointment was made by Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Mr Leo Varadkar, TD and will run until May 27, 2015.
Mr Kavanagh (pictured) is Managing Director of the Kavanagh SuperValu Supermarket Group.  The first store in the group was O’Connor’s SuperValu, Westport, founded by the late Seán O’Connor, Mr Kavanagh’s father-in-law.  Under Mr Kavanagh’s leadership stores have been opened in several parts of Ireland, in Northern Ireland and in England.
The group employs well in excess of 1,000 people full-time, with seasonal increases as required.
Mr Kavanagh is also proprietor of the Wyatt Hotel in Westport, a key accommodation component of the Westport tourism product.
He was one of the early sponsors of the Westport Tidy Towns, long before SuperValu became official sponsors of the National Tidy Towns Competition and was delighted to see Westport winning the overall National Tidy Towns Competition on three different occasions in the space of a decade.  His company has also been to the fore in sponsoring a wide range of voluntary community endeavours down through the years.
Over the past several years he has spearheaded the restoration of Westport Town Hall which is expected to cost well in excess of two million euro.  Tenders to carry out the work are currently being examined and it is confidently expected that a contract for the construction work will be signed in a matter of weeks.
Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, Deputy Michael Ring, has welcomed Mr Kavanagh’s appointment as a director of Fáilte Ireland.  “Noel is a well-respected Westport businessman who has had a very successful career in the retail and tourism sector,” Minister Ring said.  “He will make an excellent member of the Fáilte Ireland Authority and will bring an incisive, objective, and comprehensive insight to the challenges facing the sector and its need to be responsive to changing customer requirements in these economic times.”
Mr Kavanagh’s appointment has also been welcomed by Destination Westport, Westport Tourism Organisation and the local branch of the Irish Hotels’ Federation.  Speaking to The Mayo News Mr Kavanagh said he was very honoured to be asked to serve on the board of Fáilte Ireland.  Tourism was hugely important to the Irish economy and the industry was responsible for many thousands of full-time and part-time jobs.
“As a member of the board I hope to bring my business experience, garnered over many years, to the ongoing debate on policy development by the Government for this important industry.  Unquestionably, we have the product that tourists are looking for and what we must ensure is that we stay competitive and market professionally in all relevant markets, nationally and internationally.”
He said that while the appointment was all about developing national tourism policies, he would be keeping a very close eye on the needs of tourism in the West of Ireland ‘with a view to doing whatever I can to respond positively to those needs’.
He added that he was delighted to be an early sponsor of Tidy Towns and was very pleased when some years later SuperValu became the official national sponsor of the competition.
“Through the huge voluntary efforts of the local Tidy Towns Committee and the marvellous work of Westport Town Council, Mayo County Council, the Western Fisheries Board and other agencies, Westport has won national honours on three occasions and this has been a huge marketing tool for persuading people to come to Westport for holidays”.