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Founder of Award-Winning Tour Company Named New President of Incoming Tour Operators Association - Ireland

Story by Vagabond Adventure Tours of Ireland


Rob Rankin, Managing Director of Ireland’s award-winning Vagabond Small-Group Tours of Ireland, is the new incoming president of the Incoming Tour Operators Association - Ireland. 

This group is comprised of 32 of Ireland’s leading inbound tour operators that collectively deliver 750,000 tourists to the island of Ireland from around the globe. These inbound tour operators provide group touring, individual holiday and self-drive programs and MICE (Meeting, Incentive, Conference & Event) business to every part of the country. 

Outgoing ITOA President Darren Byrne, who has served the association for the last two years, said, “I am delighted to be passing the chain of office to Rob.” This took place at a meeting of the group on Jan. 25, 2020, at Dromoland Castle Hotel near Shannon.

Founded in 1978, ITOA collaborates with Failte Ireland, Tourism Ireland and Tourism Northern Ireland and is a member of Irish Tourism Industry Confederation (ITIC). For details please see

Calling ITOA “undoubtedly one of the most respected associations in Ireland tourism,” Rankin said he was honoured to be appointed president of the board he has served on since 2014.

“As with any time in business, we do face challenges such as uncertainty around Brexit, international security concerns and, of course, we need to advance towards a more sustainable business model. So I can’t imagine there will be a dull moment in the next 2 years…”

Ruth Andrews, CEO of ITOA, noted that Rankin “has been a strong contributor to the association since joining and becoming a member of the executive board in 2014. I know that he will bring great energy and enthusiasm in serving the members and representing the ITOA within Irish Tourism demonstrating the importance and vibrancy of this important sector that delivers 750,000 holiday and business tourism visitors to Ireland annually.”

Vagabond Small Group Tours of Ireland is no stranger to accepting awards. In 2019 the company received two Irish Tourism Industry Awards; Ireland’s Best Ancient East Tourism Experience and Ireland’s Best Environmental Tourism Innovative. 

Vagabond’s staff curate locally owned accommodations, pubs and restaurants that help serve their goal of authenticity. In the end the mission is to have guests “love Ireland as much as we do.” 

For details on all of Vagabond Small Group Tours of Ireland itineraries, availability and for 2019 reservations, please visit Call toll free (from the US) 1.833-230-0288; in Ireland 00353 (0) 1 5634358; or email: [email protected]

About Vagabond Small Group Tours of Ireland

Since 2002 Vagabond Adventure Tours has been creating opportunities for visitors to embrace Ireland by walking, biking, horseback riding and kayaking its lands and waters, imbibing history and culture along the way. In 2013 the company was honored by National Geographic Traveler with a Top 50 Tour of a Lifetime distinction. In 2015 and 2017 Vagabond Small Group Tours of Ireland was named the “Best Adventure Experience” at the Irish Tourism Awards. In 2017, Vagabond became Ireland’s first tour operator to achieve Ecotourism Gold Level Certification and in 2018, Vagabond Tours won The Green Tourism & Entertainment category in Ireland’s most prestigious Green (business) Awards. In February 2019, the company won two top Irish Tourism Industry Awards for the Best Ireland Ancient East Tourism Experience and Best Environmental Tourism Innovation.