Tourism partners from around the island of Ireland travelled to Brussels last week, to take part in a sales blitz of influential international associations and incentive agents organised by Tourism Ireland. Business tourism is the most lucrative form of tourism, offering significant economic benefits and, given that the headquarters of so many associations are based in Brussels, the city is an important source of association conference events for Ireland.
Over three days, the tourism companies met with senior representatives and decision-makers from a number of international associations and incentive agents. The sales blitz 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.
Danielle Neyts, Tourism Ireland Belgium, said: “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. We were delighted so many of these key business tourism decision-makers took the time to meet our partners, to hear about our superb meetings and conference facilities and what makes the island of Ireland unique as a business destination.
“The sales blitz was also a wonderful opportunity to spread the word about ‘The Gathering Ireland 2013’ and the fantastic programme of events planned for next year. As well as directly targeting the Diaspora and those with a connection to Ireland, we are also working closely with decision-makers involved in business tourism, to enthuse them about the destination and encourage them to include ‘The Gathering’ and the island of Ireland in their 2013 programmes.”
Tourism Ireland’s busy programme of activity to grow business tourism from Belgium and elsewhere across Europe this year includes a number of events, promotions and familiarisation visits, which are highlighting ease of access, the great facilities and good value rates available for meetings and conferences here and getting the island of Ireland known for excellence in business support.
Olivia O’Connor, Abbey Tours; Lindsey Williamson, Belfast Visitor & Convention Bureau; Danielle Neyts, Tourism Ireland; and Ann Shanahan, Killarney Convention Centre, in Brussels during a sales blitz of international associations and incentive agents.
Further media information:
Sinéad Grace, Tourism Ireland
Tel: 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.
• In 2011, approximately 7.3 million overseas visitors came to the island of Ireland (+4% on 2010), delivering revenue of approximately €3.4 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 2011, discoverireland.com attracted almost 12 million unique visitors.
• ‘The Gathering Ireland 2013’ will be Ireland’s biggest ever tourism initiative and will consist of a year-long programme of festivals, events and gatherings in every part of the country.
• Tourism Ireland has an extensive programme of promotions under way to highlight ‘The Gathering Ireland 2013’ around the world this autumn, working closely with the ‘Gathering’ project team.