Influential conference and meeting planners attended a ‘Meet in Ireland’ event in Brussels last week, where they heard about the superb meetings and conferences facilities on offer here and what makes the island of Ireland unique as a business destination.
At the networking event, organised by Tourism Ireland, the various tourism representatives who travelled from around the island of Ireland – including hotels, PCOs (professional conference organisers), convention bureaux and venues – met with senior representatives and decision-makers from a number of international associations based in Belgium; it was an excellent opportunity for the participating companies to showcase their product and to win a greater share of the lucrative conference and business tourism market.
Simon Gregory, Tourism Ireland’s Director of Markets, said: “We are delighted so many of these key decision-makers who are based in Brussels took the time to come to our networking event, demonstrating their keen interest in the island of Ireland as a conference and business destination for 2011 and beyond. Given that the headquarters of over 2,000 associations are located in Brussels, it makes sense for us to proactively target this sector. These associations regularly hold conferences for thousands of delegates in different venues around the world, delivering significant economic benefits to the host country.”
The opening of The CCD in September 2010 has opened up a market that was previously beyond the reach of Ireland. Because Ireland did not have a national convention centre, we were restricted in terms of the number and type of conference we could host. Tourism Ireland’s strategy is to fully exploit the potential of The CCD, which can have spin-off benefits for the island, to win association conference business for Dublin and Ireland which previously went to other destinations. Simon Gregory continued: “We are actively targeting the conferences which have not taken place in Ireland to date, or where a gap exists in the rotation of an annual conference and therefore a real opportunity to host that conference in Ireland. Working closely with Fáilte Ireland, NITB and our industry partners, we are focusing particularly on the association and corporate sectors in Belgium, Germany and France.”
Tourism Ireland has a busy promotional programme under way for 2011, to highlight the island of Ireland overseas as a premier conference and business destination. A number of high profile events and promotions are showcasing the good value rates available for meetings and conferences; they are also highlighting ease of access and getting the island of Ireland known for excellence in business support. The superb meetings and transport infrastructure on offer here, coupled with our distinctive cultural experience, means the island of Ireland is now an even more viable and attractive destination for the overseas business tourism market than ever before.
Tourism industry partners from around the island of Ireland at a networking ‘Meet in Ireland’ event in Brussels, with Simon Gregory, Tourism Ireland (centre).
Further media information:
Sinéad Grace, Tourism Ireland t: 087 685 9027
Notes to Editors:
• Tourism Ireland is the organisation responsible for promoting the island of Ireland overseas as a leading holiday destination.
• Tourism is the island of Ireland’s largest indigenous industry; responsible for in excess of 4% of GNP in the Republic of Ireland and employing approximately 200,000 people.
• Approximately 6.9 million overseas visitors came to the island of Ireland in 2010, delivering revenue of approximately €3 billion. Overseas tourism business accounts for 59% of all tourism revenue.
• Tourism Ireland’s international website is www.discoverireland.com; there are 42 different websites, providing information in 14 different languages covering every continent. In 2010 discoverireland.com attracted almost 12 million unique visitors.