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Buoyant Figures for Irish Meetings Industry

Figures released by the Association of Irish Professional Conference Organisers (AIPCO) show that, despite a difficult 2009, the industry is showing an upward trend in terms of both income generated and the numbers of travelers using Ireland as a business destination.

In a survey of its members, the estimated income generated by delegates at AIPCO members’ conferences was put at €65 million over the three year period between 2008 and 2010. Although 2009 was seen as a poor year, with a 50% decrease in the number of delegates arriving in Ireland compared to the previous year, 2010 is projected to see a significant upward spike as the world slowly leaves the recession.

The report was compiled by gathering statistics from five of the leading Professional Conference Organisers in the country and is based on 113 conferences that took place over the three year period.

Commenting on the figures, Ms Nicola McGrane, Chairperson of the AIPCO Executive Board, said ‘Ireland was hit as badly as anyone by the worldwide recession. The speed in which the Irish tourism industry has begun to bounce back gives a real indication as to how well our industry is regarded around the world. The professionalism, innovation and vision of our companies have meant that we not only survived the recession, it’s made us leaner and stronger.’

After two decades of steady growth, the figures over the period clearly indicate what impact the recession has had on the industry that, by its nature, is often a year behind the world’s financial trends in terms of revenue generated. With such long lead-in times, the survey reveals that the meetings industry in Ireland felt the full effect of the 2007 downturn with organisations around the world dramatically reducing their marketing budgets, and continuing to do so well into 2008 and 2009.

Despite this, during a time of great financial strain for hotels around the country, 200,000 bed nights, valued at €20 million, were used by business travelers between 2008 and 2010 for conferences managed by five members of AIPCO. With the efforts made by both public and private authorities to improve the infrastructure of the meetings industry in Ireland, these figures are expected to rise over the coming decade as Ireland positions itself as a major player in the international business tourism market.

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AIPCO
The Association of Irish Professional Conference Organisers was founded in February 1999, and officially launched by the Minister for Tourism, Sport and Recreation in May 1999. Membership of AIPCO is open to Professional Congress Organising companies operating in Ireland, who have demonstrated the comprehensive experience and ability to organise all aspects of major international conferences. Prospective members are carefully assessed under strict criteria and existing members must also maintain these high standards of quality.

Photo: Samuel Beckett Bridge, Dublin, Ireland. i-stockPhoto