It was announced yesterday that over 100 buyers from the US, Canada, UK and European markets, including business tourism gurus and international event organisers, will converge on the RDS on the 17-18 October for Connect17, Ireland’s premier business tourism showcase that sees the meeting and events industry all coming together under the one roof.
By 2028, as Ireland grows more attractive on the global events-hosting stage, the business tourism industry could be worth as much as €1.1 billion and employ an additional 8,000 people.
Connect17 will show off Ireland’s event-hosting opportunities and hospitality companies to international and Irish business decision-makers. Over 200 suppliers, including hotels, venues, visitor attractions, event organisers and technology and creative production companies, will have a presence at the event. Ireland’s towns, cities and counties will also have representatives at the regional exhibition stands.
Speakers at the event will include the award-winning Abigail Disney, CEO and President of Fork Films and great-niece of Walt Disney and Gina London, Strategic Advisor at Fuzion Communications and former CNN anchor. Fáilte Ireland’s new CEO Paul Kelly will officially open the event.
The latest figures reveal that Business tourism, which employs 21,000 people in Ireland, was worth €715 million to the economy in 2016, up 7% on the previous year. Major conferences and industry events attracted upwards of 1.3 million international delegates. Each delegate stayed an average of 5 days and spent €1,600, up one hundred euro on 2015 and two hundred on 2014.
Speaking this week, Connect17 Founder and Managing Director of Conference Partners International, Nicky McGrane said, "Ireland is fast becoming a favourite location for international conferences and exhibitions. Business tourism is growing year-on-year, and delegates are staying longer and spending more. In the next decade, the industry could be worth over €1.1 billion and directly employ 27,000 people. This is great news for Ireland Inc, and that’s why it’s so important that business tourism companies seize the opportunity to loudly show off this growth potential."