Several Irish tourism organisations travelled to Brussels this week, to take part in a sales blitz organised by Tourism Ireland, targeting influential international associations and incentive agents based in the Belgian capital. 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 business for Ireland.
Over three days, the Irish tourism companies met with senior representatives and decision-makers from a number of international associations and incentive agents. The sales mission was an excellent opportunity for them to showcase their product and to communicate what is unique about Ireland as a conference and business tourism destination.
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 the key Belgian business tourism decision-makers took the time to meet our Irish partners, to hear about our superb meetings and conference facilities and what makes the island of Ireland unique as a business destination.
“This sales mission was also a good opportunity to highlight The Gathering Ireland 2013. Although the major focus of Tourism Ireland’s promotional activity to highlight The Gathering is in countries with a strong Diaspora connection – like Britain, the US, Canada and Australia – we are also using it as a hook in markets like Belgium to promote Ireland. As well as directly targeting the Diaspora and those with a connection to Ireland, we are also working closely with decision-makers involved in the MICE (meetings, incentive, conferences and events) industry, to enthuse them about the destination and encourage them to include the island of Ireland in their 2013 programmes.”
Evelyn O’Sullivan, Cork Convention Bureau (back, left); Áine Comerford, Ballsbridge Hotel and Clyde Court Hotel (back right); Danielle Neyts, Tourism Ireland (front, left); and Mai Olden, Odyssey International (front, right), in Brussels during a sales blitz organised by Tourism Ireland.
Further media information:
Jasmine O’Brien, Tourism Ireland
Tel: 01-476 3425
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 2012, an estimated 7.27 million overseas visitors came to the island of Ireland, delivering revenue of approximately €3.51 billion. Overseas tourism business accounts for 59% of all tourism revenue.
• Tourism Ireland’s international website is www.ireland.com, currently rolling out in 11 different language versions for over 30 individual markets around the world.
• ‘The Gathering Ireland 2013’ is Ireland’s biggest ever tourism initiative, consisting 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, working closely with the ‘Gathering’ project team.