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.”