Press Releases

PRESS RELEASE : Secretary of State announces appointment of three members to the Board of Tourism Northern Ireland [December 2023]

The press release issued by the Northern Ireland Office on 12 December 2023.

The Secretary of State, the Rt Hon Chris Heaton-Harris MP, has announced the appointment of new Tourism Northern Ireland (Tourism NI) Board Members.

The Secretary of State, the Rt Hon Chris Heaton-Harris MP, has announced the appointment of Ms Karly Greene, Mr Michael Counahan and Mr John Hood as new Tourism Northern Ireland (Tourism NI) Board Members. In the absence of Ministers in the Northern Ireland Executive, these appointments were made under the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation etc) Act 2022.

The new members took up post with effect from 27 November 2023.

These new Members will bring a wealth of private and public sector experience to the Board of Tourism NI to the benefit of the local tourism sector. The successful candidates have extensive backgrounds in such areas as corporate governance; financial management; strategic thinking; business improvement and the hotel and hospitality industry, and their significant knowledge and skills will play a key role in ensuring that this important sector goes from strength to strength in what promises to be an exciting time for tourism in Northern Ireland.


Karly Greene has been the Director of Strategic Development and Partnerships at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland since November 2020. She is responsible for developing the Arts Council’s strategic, corporate and business plans and for research, policy and advocacy. Karly also has responsibility for ensuring the Arts Council meets its statutory requirements in relation to equality and inter-agency co-operation with other public bodies.

Karly has over thirteen years of experience across the public, private and voluntary sectors in using research and data to inform strategy, policy and executive decision making, having previously worked as Head of Research & Equality Services in the NI Housing Executive and Research Director with Quadrangle.

Karly is passionate about using research insights to implement change and demonstrate impact with a focus on equality, social justice and involving customers and underrepresented people in the strategy design process. She is also a trustee on the board of Housing Rights and former chairperson of Nexus NI.

Michael Counahan is managing director of CHL Consulting Co. and has more than 38 years’ professional experience in tourism, cultural heritage and the arts. During this time, he has worked on tourism development projects throughout Europe, the Caribbean, Middle East and South-East Asia. His consultancy work includes strategic planning for public and private sector organisations, economic planning, project analysis and management, and business planning. Particular areas of activity in recent years include tourism destination planning, visitor attraction development and operations, and land/building asset utilisation.

He has worked on many tourism development projects in Northern Ireland including acting as project leader on the development of Titanic Belfast. He co-founded AVEA, the Association of Visitor Experiences & Attractions, which now has a membership of 103 leading attractions, and Michael is company secretary. He is also a director of Pipeworks Music, formerly the Dublin International Organ & Choral Festival.

John Hood has over 23 years’ in-depth experience in investment, marketing and economic development. For the last 10 years he was the Director of the Food; Drink & Tourism Division at Invest NI where he delivered a number of key tourism accommodation and development projects in Northern Ireland, as well as delivering significant growth across the food and drink sector. In October 2023 he was appointed as a Non-Executive Director to the Board of the Livestock & Meat Commission for Northern Ireland which is remunerated at £6,485 per annum.

Details of body

Tourism NI has responsibility for the development of tourism products and experience across Northern Ireland and is also responsible for the marketing of Northern Ireland as a tourist destination to visitors within Northern Ireland and from the Republic of Ireland.

Tourism NI’s primary responsibility remains the marketing of Northern Ireland on the Island of Ireland and working with partners to attract visitors from across the globe. However, it also continues to play a vital role in supporting recovery of the tourism and hospitality industries from the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic and setting them on the path back to sustainable growth. Going forward the organisation will make an important contribution to the Department for the Economy’s 10x economic vision and aims to ensure that tourism contributes to the creation of a dynamic, competitive economy.

Further information on the work of Tourism NI can be found at: Tourism NI

Terms Of Appointment

The appointments will be for 3 years commencing on 27 November 2023. Members are expected to attend Board meetings, sub-committee meetings and other events, amounting to at least 1 day per month. In addition, Members will be expected to attend occasional evening engagements. Remuneration is £5,471 per annum. The roles are non pensionable.


In the absence of Ministers in the Northern Ireland Executive, these appointments were made under the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation etc) Act 2022, and in accordance with the Commissioner for Public Appointments for Northern Ireland (CPANI) Code of Practice.

Political Activity

None of the appointees have declared any political activity in the last five years.