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Relatively Speaking: Maureen Ledwith and Edmund Hourican

By Karen Ireland

Maureen Ledwith is a sales director with Business Exhibitions Ltd, the company behind the Belfast Telegraph's Holiday World exhibition, and has been in the travel industry for 27 years. Her husband Edmund is MD of the company.

When I left school, I studied accountancy and then went to work in corporate finance. Travel was part of my job, taking me to America and England for a few years.

While times were challenging, I loved my work. Then about 27 years ago, I decided to use my knowledge of the travel industry and finance and join Maureen in the business - and I haven't looked back. I was MD of JWT in Ireland, so I had wide experience of the travel business to bring with me.

Meanwhile, Maureen had a good grounding in the industry so we worked well as a team.

Our work brings us into contact with all the different tourist boards and people think we get to travel a lot and it is very exotic. The reality is all of the tourist boards, which are serious players in the industry, have offices in London now, so we are dealing with the teams there.

The good news for holidaymakers is that the travel opportunities from both Dublin and Belfast are outstanding now.

I love working with my wife. She is the extrovert in the partnership and I am the introvert, so we complement each other.

Maureen has a tremendous work ethic with a huge amount of business knowledge.

It is her efforts which make the events we run such a success. She has an amazing sense of humour and is fun to be around - which gets us through most situations.

Time off is relaxing at home or visiting our son in New York.

We have travelled the world but the Canary Islands remain one of our favourite destinations. It will be great to get back to Belfast and the line-up of exhibitors, including lots of new ones, is second to none.

While the economic downturn hit all industries, the travel business has turned around."

Name: Edmund Hourican

Occupation: MD of Business Exhibitons Ltd

Relationship to Maureen: Husband

I have been involved in the travel industry for over 27 years. My husband and I run the business together and we are really looking forward to coming to Belfast for the Belfast Telegraph Holiday World exhibition, between January 15 to 17.

We have a new venue this year at the Titanic Exhibition Centre, which is very exciting. This is our 24th year in Belfast and the show is bigger and better than ever with over 200 exhibitors.

Away from work I have two sons, Ciaran (37) and Shane (35). Shane also works in the business as an operations manager - so it is a real family affair.

Ciaran lives and works in New York, but he is coming home at the end of January and we cannot wait for him to come home.

Edmund and I met when we were at finishing school. We lived near each other and were friends before we started dating.

He worked in accountancy in Manchester and then when he came home we got married. I continued to work when I had the boys and had great support. Fortunately I was able to work from home a lot which was a huge bonus with two young children.

Before I was married and had the boys, I worked as a model which I loved and I also lectured in colleges.

Edmund is one of the most sincere people I know and his professionalism is second to none.

We work hard but we love spending time together, so running a business together isn't difficult. We are a great team and work well together.

We travel a lot to different trade shows and events, so socialising is a big part of our work.

Downtime for us is going out to dinner together or seeing a show or a concert.

The travel business has suffered a few difficult years in recent times, but we have always been committed to the show.

The fact this year's show is bigger than ever proves that there is increased confidence in the industry. There are definitely exciting times ahead in the travel business in Belfast and beyond."

Name: Maureen Ledwith

Occupation: Sales director

with Business Exhibitions Ltd Relationship to Edmund: Wife

Holiday World attracts big names

■ The Belfast Telegraph Holiday World will run from January 15 to January 17 at the Titanic Exhibition Centre

■ Leading names in the travel industry which will be exhibiting, include Algarve Tourism Bureau, ASL Airlines Frances, Balkan Holidays, Botswana Tourism, Eze Europe, Jamaica Tourist Board, Bike N Ride Holidays and Play Florida Golf and Travel Tickets and Tours

■ Tickets for the event cost £5 for adults, £4 for senior citizens and £3 for students

■ For further details visit

Belfast Telegraph


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