This much I know: Tania Airey (Managing Director, Sunway)

I have been surrounded by travel for as long as I can remember.
This much I know: Tania Airey (Managing Director, Sunway)

As a child, my sisters and I would play ‘shop’ as travel agents, booking tickets and flying my dolls around the world, so it is hardly surprising I have ended up in this business.

I was a very willful child. I had to have things my own way. I’ve learnt, over time, that things don’t always work out that way.

Travel is definitely in my blood. My grandfather, Roy Beatty, had been sales manager with Aer Lingus, before he set up Sunway with a team of four, including his daughter (my aunt), Madeline Kilbride. My father was involved with Sunway and, would you believe, another aunt, on my father’s side, also worked in Aer Lingus. Over the next 30 years, Madeline built the business, until her retirement in 1998, when it was my turn to take the reins. I love this business, because it is ever-changing and it helps to bring smiles to people’s faces. We are making their dreams a reality.

My earliest memory is being on holiday with my family, in Majorca. We had a fantastically happy time and that ingrained in me how important holiday time is for a family. The fact that we are all so busy these days means that such quality time together is even more important now that it was before.

To be honest, it is only in the last few years that I have achieved a work/life balance at all and that is because my children are older now and I am surrounded by an amazing team.

I am very disciplined and live by routine. That sounds boring, but it works for me.

The best advice I ever received was don’t just talk the talk, make sure to walk the walk.

The trait I most admire in other people is loyalty.

My main fault is impatience.

The most important skills that I bring to this job are being a quick thinker and a good organiser.

If I could be reborn as someone else for a day, I would be my husband: so that I could spend time with me!

My idea of happiness is when the people that are important to me are happy. Then, I’m happy, too. My idea of misery is seeing my family or friends suffering from bad health.

If I could change one thing in Irish society, it would be homelessness. It is so sad to see people homeless, and to imagine all their personal stories and the circumstances that have brought them to such a horrible situation.

I can’t imagine life without airplanes, iphones, and washing machines.

If I could pass on one piece of advice about life to the next generation, it is to be kind and to treat others as you would like them to treat you.

School wasn’t my thing and if I were to do it all again, I would have the motivation to focus on my schoolwork as much as I do on work now.

In my personal life, my biggest challenge has been trying to bring up my children in the best possible way I can. In my business life, there have been too many challenges to mention and I have learned not to be complacent, because you don’t know what will be thrown at you each day. You simply have to pick yourself up and get on with it.

My greatest fear is death.

I’m a lark, most of the time, but have been known to be a night owl, every now and again.

I try not to think about life after death, but, unfortunately, I would err on the side of not believing in an after-life.

So far, life has taught me to be yourself and do your best, and that you can do no better than that.

Sunway Holidays, celebrating 50 years in business, is Ireland’s largest, Irish-owned tour operator, with 70 destinations worldwide.

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