The Irish meetings industry is set for a buoyant 2010 according to figures released by the Association of Irish Professional Conference Organisers (AIPCO).
In a survey of its members, the estimated income generated by delegates at AIPCO members’ conferences was put at €65 million (£53.8m) over the three year period between 2008 and 2010. Although 2009 was seen as a poor year, with a 50 per cent 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 global economy picks up.
The report was compiled from data from five leading Irish PCOs and is based on 113 conferences taking place over the three year period.
Nicola McGrane, chair 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 indicate the impact of recession on the industry that, by its nature, is often a year behind the world’s financial trends in terms of revenue generated. Taking into account 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 marketing budgets, and continuing to do so well into 2008 and 2009.
The survey identified 200,000 bed nights, valued at €20 million (£16.6m), used by business travellers between 2008 and 2010 for conferences managed by five members of AIPCO. The figures are expected to rise over the coming decade with investment from public and private authorities improving the infrastructure of the meetings industry in Ireland as the country positions itself as a major player in the international business tourism market.