Galway tourism interests part of gathering to attract business tourism to the west

Pictured at the event are (l-r) Averil Burke, BEM Ireland; Eamon Howley, BEM Ireland; Darragh O'Connor,
Clayton Hotel; Kathleen McDonagh, GoWest; and Letitia Wade, Failte Ireland.

Pictured at the event are (l-r) Averil Burke, BEM Ireland; Eamon Howley, BEM Ireland; Darragh O'Connor, Clayton Hotel; Kathleen McDonagh, GoWest; and Letitia Wade, Failte Ireland.

Galway businesses were in Dublin this week to attend Fáilte Ireland’s Business Tourism Briefing and hear about plans for the business tourism sector for 2015 and beyond. Over 250 members from across Ireland’s business tourism sector were in attendance, representing conference venues, hotels, professional conference organisers, destination management companies, university conference offices and regional convention bureaux.

At the event, Fáilte Irelands Business Tourism Team announced a revenue target in 2015 of €61.5m (representing an eigh per cent growth on last year ) which it will achieve through generating and converting international corporate, incentive and association conference business for Ireland. It will also provide a further financial and practical support to international conferences that are already secured for Ireland this year under its “Meet in Ireland” brand.

Attendees today also heard that the generation of leads with the potential to secure conference business that delivers a higher number of delegates per conference, and therefore greater economic value, is the central focus for Fáilte Ireland’s Business Tourism Unit this year, as well as greater dispersion of conferences regionally.

Speaking at the event, Miriam Kennedy Fáilte Ireland's Head of Business Tourism emphasised:

“International conferencing will also continue to be a priority for us this year. The conference sector is a competitive business but, happily, Ireland continues to punch well above its weight. To date we have recorded 117 conferences taking place in Ireland this year - worth a combined value of €57million to the Irish economy. Next year and beyond is also looking positive, with 70 conferences already secured, along with a potential €84 million in revenue for the Irish economy. We will be keeping our foot on the pedal and identifying, pursuing and converting as many leads and opportunities as we can”.

Ms Kennedy added that a further 218 conferences are currently being bid for at the moment, with a potential value of €302m if all are secured.

Attending the business tourism briefing, Darragh O’Connor, Chairperson of Meet In Galway said -

“Meet In Ireland have really got their finger on the pulse with securing international business tourism to Ireland - the ICCA rankings show Ireland has jumped eight places to number 29 for 2014. Meet In Galway, were particularly glad to see that collaboration was a huge focus point on the day - if we work together as a group and not compete against each other, the rewards to any Irish city will pay off in dividends particularly to the national and local economy."

Mr. O’Connor, also feels the corporate supports being implemented by Failte Ireland for 2015, will play a significant part in getting more MICE business to Galway.

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