Summary of Board Meeting 28th June 2005

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             Summary of Board Meeting 28th June 2005

              Mr Tom McGrath (Chairman)
              Mrs Irene Adair
              Mr Lyn Fawcett (part)
              Mrs Mandy Martin
              Mr John McGrillen

             In attendance:
              Mr Alan Clarke, Chief Executive
              Mr Philip Pentland, Industry Development Director
              Ms Sue Ward, Marketing Director
              Mrs Jean Stratton, Organisational Development Director
              Ms Kathryn Thomson, Finance & Business Planning Director
              Ms Diane Neill, Policy & Business Planning Unit

              Ms Andrea Hayes
              Mr John Mooney
              Councillor Jim Speers

             1. Minutes of Last Meeting
             Minutes of Board Meeting on Tuesday 17 May 2005
             The Board approved the minutes as an accurate record of the meeting subject to the following
             change at item 6 (ix) (Giant’s Causeway Visitor Centre):
              “The Board agreed to the proposal that the Directors of the new company are Tom
                 McGrath (Chair), Robin McMinnis, Alan Clarke and Kathryn Thomson as Company

             Matters Arising:
             Student numbers: The Chief Executive is to write to the Vice-Chancellor of the University of
             Ulster to request details of student uptake at the School of Hotel, Leisure and Tourism
             (ACTION: AC).

             TIDInet: 3 key statistics were distributed in relation to TIDInet. As there are more booking
             options available to customers, there has been a drop in online bookings in comparison with
             last year.

             Down Area Plan Public Inquiry: NITB had not been notified regarding this inquiry. The Chief
             Executive will contact the Planning Service Chief Executive to discuss a number of issues
             (ACTION: AC).

             2. Papers for Discussion
             2 (i) Corporate & Industry Communications Strategy
             The Board was advised that the Strategy must underpin the Strategic Framework for Action.
             The primary focus is to improve communication with the industry but the Strategy must also
             address internal communication.

             The Board discussed the recommendations from a consultancy report. In relation to
             recommendation 3 (the engagement of external consultants), the Board stressed that specific
             outcome standards need to be set (ACTION: KT).

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             It was noted that a Strategy and Action Plan would be developed with timescales and targets.
             The Board requested an update in October regarding progress on this Strategy (ACTION:

             The Chief Executive advised that the aim of the Strategy was that everyone would see
             communication as their remit. The Board was advised that Action Programme Implementation
             Group (APIG) 5 would monitor the implementation of this.

             2 (ii) Competitive Positioning: Businesses and People
             The Board received a summary of the issues.

             The Chief Executive advised that Invest NI will be coming to the NITB Board in September.
             The Board concurred with the approach of using APIGs and NITB staff to progress
             competitiveness issues and welcomed the proposed presentation from Invest NI.

             2 (iii) TDS Funding Approvals
             The Board approved the recommended financial assistance to the following projects
             (ACTION: PP):

                 (a) Upgrading of Coleraine Tourist Information Centre - £5,691
                 (b) Carnfunnock Country Park - £14,000
                 (c) Carrickfergus Son et Lumière (Light Show) - £93,750
                 (d) Cottage Wood - £201,867

             The Board requested the Greyabbey Estate Horse Trail Riding paper should be resubmitted
             with more evidence in relation to the marketability to international visitors. The Board queried
             the lower than expected percentage level of funding provided by Interreg. (ACTION: PP)

             2 (iv) Northern Ireland Tourism: Strategic Framework for Action 2004 – 2007: Year One
             The Board agreed that the review day had been excellent and felt that NITB is more allied
             with the trade as a result. Members also commented very positively on the Business Tourism
             Masterclass which had been held on Monday 27 June 2005.

             The Board suggested that more could be done to increase awareness of career opportunities
             in the tourism industry and the Senior Management Team was asked to consider ways in
             which this could be achieved, for example through competitions at primary schools (ACTION:

             2 (v) Chairman’s Business
              The Chairman asked the Chief Executive to provide a report on NITB’s key achievements
                 at the end of the Board’s 3 year term to the Department. This is to form an item at the
                 October Board Meeting (ACTION: AC).
              The Chairman stated his appreciation for the unrecognised work carried out by the Senior
                 Management Team and NITB staff, referring to high workloads and late nights.
              The Chairman advised that at the Tourism Ireland (TIL) Board Meeting he had requested
                 information on how much TIL had spent on advertising and sponsorship in Northern
                 Ireland and in the Republic of Ireland.
              The Chairman reminded members of the Special Board Meeting which is scheduled for
                 25th July 2005. Lyn Fawcett gave his apologies for this July date.

             2 (vi) NITB – Funding for the Tourism Industry
             The Board was provided with details of NITB’s schemes of financial support and the
             application and appraisal processes. The Chairman expressed his concern that the current

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             lengthy process leads to expectations building up. There was a need for regular
             communication throughout the process.

             The Board discussed co-ordination of overseas activities by Regional Tourism Organisations
             (RTOs). Members were advised that NITB has provided guidance and progress has been
             made in this area.

             The Board recommended that, in reporting on its role as an agency administering funding on
             behalf of other bodies; NITB must explain clearly the original source and rationale of such
             funding. Members also suggested that NITB should approach the Integrated Development
             Fund to examine the possibility of levering funding for Signature Projects (ACTION: PP).

             The Board was advised that Invest NI would be attending the September Board Meeting and
             there will be an opportunity to discuss tourism funding at this time.

             2 (vii) Accessibility – NITB and Invest Northern Ireland
             The Board received a paper highlighting implications for NITB of the Disability Discrimination
             Act (DDA). The Board agreed that DETI should be formally approached for advice. (ACTION:

             2(viii) Funding for Belfast and Northern Ireland Tourist Information Desk at Belfast
             International Airport
             The Board approved funding on a short fall basis up to a maximum of £45,000, £40,000 and
             £40,000 over the financial year period 1st April 2005 – 31st March 2008 subject to a condition
             being included in the Letter of Offer that all IT systems will be compatible with NITB’s
             (ACTION: PP).

             Lyn Fawcett left the meeting at this point.

             2 (ix) Rural Cottage Holidays Ltd
             The Board was advised that the Rural Cottage Holidays Board had approved the sale of Rural
             Cottage Holidays (RCH) to Travel Solutions and the completion date is scheduled for 1 July
             with a 10 day hand-over period. The contract is currently being drawn up by the solicitors.
             Negotiations with RCH staff regarding their NITB contracts are ongoing. NITB will still be
             responsible for management / maintenance of 11 leased cottages. The Board endorsed the
             decision to sell RCH.

             2 (x) Audit Issues – Update
             The Board was advised that the accounts for 2003/4 have been signed off. Clarity is being
             sought regarding the definition of external consultants. In relation to the 04/05 accounts,
             members were advised that preparation of the 04/05 accounts has been delayed while NITB
             awaits a management letter for NIAO. The Chairman requested that NITB writes to the Audit
             Office to progress this issue as a matter of urgency (ACTION: KT).

             The Board received an update on the review of the Funding and Monitoring Unit. The Board
             thanked staff for their assistance and participation and suggested that the Department should
             be updated on this progress as soon as possible (ACTION: AC).

             3 Papers for Noting
             3 (i) The Northern Ireland Bed & Breakfast and Guest House Sector – Progress
             Members were advised of progress. Elections had been planned for the end of June but these
             had not yet taken place. The Board expressed a hope that the issue would be resolved soon.

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             3 (ii) Tourism Ireland Board Meeting: 18 May 2005
             Members were advised that the TIL Board had discussed proposals for the Tourism Brand
             Ireland (TBI) 3 initiative. It was felt that further work is needed on this and TIL is to present its
             revised plans to the TIL Board in July and to the NITB July Board following this. It was
             suggested that NITB liaise with TIL to ensure NITB input (ACTION: SW).

             3 (iii) Corporate Plan
             The Board received a report on consultation on the Draft Corporate Plan. Targets had been
             revised as a result of comments received and these were circulated. The Board recognised
             that some targets (in particular the proposed increase in ROI Visitor spend) are ambitious but
             was content overall to approve submission of the revised plan to DETI.

             NITB will amend the Corporate Plan and issue to the Minister for approval (ACTION: KT).

             4. Chief Executive’s Report
             The Chief Executive highlighted a few of the items on his report:

             Invest Northern Ireland - NITB had met with InvestNI’s Business Improvement Team.
             NITB’s view is that more work could be done to support the development of tourism
             businesses and the Chief Executive will raise this with DETI. InvestNI’s nominated Board
             Members / new Managing Director responsible for tourism to be invited to September Board
             Meeting. (ACTION: AC).

             Ulster in Bloom - NITB had recently met with the Department of Environment, Environment &
             Heritage Service and Translink to discuss future arrangements for the running of Ulster in
             Bloom. The Chairman is to write to EHS to follow this up. (ACTION: KT)

             Northern Ireland Tourist Industry Confederation (NITIC) - It was noted that the new Minister
             had asked NITIC how she could assist them in relation to cross government support to

             Organisational Health Check - The Board was advised of the outcome. An Action Plan is
             being developed and there will be a follow up survey in 9 months. The Chairman thanked HR
             staff for work on organisational development.

             5. Any Other Business
             5 (i) October Board Meeting
             The Chairman outlined proposed arrangements for the October Board Meeting following an
             invitation from Newry Institute. It was proposed that the Board would assemble at 12.30 for a
             working lunch, the Board Meeting would take place in the afternoon, followed by dinner and
             an overnight stay (ACTION: KT).

             5 (ii) Appointments
             The Board discussed recent advertisements for new Board Members. The Chairman
             explained that a number of members are due to have their appointments reviewed and to
             ensure continuity of business; their leaving dates may be staggered. The Chairman stressed
             that this would not be a reflection on performance but simply to ensure smooth running of the

             5 (iii) Appraisals
             The Chairman advised that he plans to carry out the Board Members’ appraisals over the

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             5 (iv) Smithsonian Festival 2007
             The Chairman mentioned the Smithsonian Festival in 2007 in Washington at which Northern
             Ireland will be featured. Board Members, past and present, may be asked to participate.
             While it is proposed to promote NI produce at the festival, it may not be possible to import
             food to the US.

             5 (v) Northern Ireland Tourism Awards (NITA)
             The Board commended a suggestion from an NITB staff member that a category for
             journalism could be added to NITA. This is to be taken up as part of the review of NITA
             (ACTION: KT).

             5 (vi) Business Tourism
             Copies of the Business Tourism booklet strategy were made available to the Board.

             5 (vii) 2004 Results
             The 2004 results for tourism were distributed. It was noted that new flights are having a
             significant impact. The implications of these are to be investigated further (ACTION: PP).

             5 (viii) Appointment to the Fisheries Conservancy Board
             The Chairman advised the Board that DETI had asked him if the Board were content for Lyn
             Fawcett to continue to represent tourism interests on the Fisheries Conservancy Board. The
             Board approved this.

             5 (ix) Chief Executive
             The Board congratulated the Chief Executive on his recent success in being awarded the
             Institute of Directors Diploma in Company Direction. The Chief Executive thanked the Board
             for their support.

             5 (x) Planning
             The Board discussed concerns about planning matters which had been raised in
             correspondence from the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP). Members asked if it was
             permissible for NITB to brief political parties and were advised that guidance has been sought
             from DETI (ACTION: AC).

             6. Date of Next Meeting
             The next Board Meeting is due to take place on Monday 25th July. The Chairman wished
             everyone well over the summer break.

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