Ireland records strong business tourism figures

Business, Finance | Tue 12 Jul | Author – Business & Finance
business tourism

According to the recently released rankings, Ireland is moving in the right direction in attracting organisers to conference venues around the country, with Dublin rising six places to enter the global ‘top 20’ for hosting conferences and conventions.

The Irish business tourism market performed well over the past year in terms of meetings, incentives, conferences and events.

Based on the number of international association meetings which took place in 2015:

  • Dublin was in the top 20 cities worldwide – up six places to 18th having hosted 97 international association conferences
  • Ireland ranked No. 32 worldwide (hosting a total of 125 conferences in 2015) up five places from 37th in 2014
  • Regional venues in Galway, Limerick and Cork all featured in the rankings for the first time contributing to Ireland’s overall solid performance and showing the growth in business tourism for regional hubs

Miriam Kennedy, Fáilte Ireland’s head of Business Tourism emphasised: “These solid results reflect the hard work on the ground from everybody involved in Ireland’s conference sector. For a small island we compete very well on the global stage with Dublin and Ireland ranking ahead of larger and more established destinations.”

She continued: “We are still hungry for more business and have ambitious growth plans for Dublin and regional centres such as Cork, Limerick, Kerry and Galway. Throughout this year we will be chasing every lead and pitching for every potential international conference to ensure we continue to rise up the rankings.”


Fáilte Ireland under its ‘Meet in Ireland’ brand and in conjunction with Tourism Ireland will also be the main sponsor for a new business tourism trade fair – Connect16 – in September and will host 50 overseas corporate/incentive agents and 20 international associations to showcase Ireland’s world-class conference product, suppliers, and Meet in Ireland support programme.

These global meeting planners will be hosted on a series of FAM trips prior to Connect16 taking in the best of Ireland’s top MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and events) product along the Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland’s Ancient East and Dublin’s newest hotspots.

Finally, all 70 global meeting planners will come together to take in all that’s great about Dublin, enjoy the friendliest city in the world (voted by Lonely Planet – twice!) and attend Connect16 where they will meet with Ireland’s top MICE suppliers all under one roof.

Already in the first five months of this year, Fáilte Ireland has secured conferences worth €65m for Ireland and identified over 300 new leads to follow as the tourism authority seeks to grow the business tourism sector in Ireland.


Fáilte Ireland works closely with a wide variety of suppliers in order increase the number of meetings in Ireland.

Partnerships with universities, institutes of technology, Science Foundation Ireland and research institutes nationally are also crucial to the success of our Conference Ambassador Programme.

For a small island we compete very well on the global stage with Dublin and Ireland ranking ahead of larger and more established destinations

One of the highlights so far in 2016 for Fáilte Ireland was its Conference Ambassador Recognition Awards in January. Hosted by Dara Ó Briain, 79 conference ambassadors were honoured – who collectively delivered a total of 73,000 international delegates to Dublin between 2011 and 2014, injecting over €101m into the Irish economy.

Similar events will be held in Cork and Limerick to recognise and reward all conference ambassadors who went out of their way to bid for and win an international conference to their region with the help of Fáilte Ireland.

In 2016 the organisation has already increased the number of conference enquiries generated for regional centres by 300% by working in closer collaboration with Cork Convention Bureau, Shannon Region Conference and Sports Bureau, Kerry Convention Bureau and Meet in Galway.


Fáilte Ireland offers a range of supports for meeting planners. For groups of 50 or more, it provides financial support to bid for an event and to bring key decision makers on a site inspection to Ireland.

Every conference delegate to Ireland is worth a whopping €1,500 to the economy, almost three times that of the leisure traveller.

Therefore, Fáilte Ireland supports meeting planners where appropriate with a marketing campaign to grow the number of delegates coming to Ireland for the conference.

Since 2009, Fáilte Ireland has supported over 1,500 conferences, has won 752 and has a further 120 live bids.

Some of Fáilte Ireland’s recent wins:

  • World Congress of the World Institute of Pain 2018 (2,500 delegates; held in Dublin)
  • International Conference on Theory and Practice of Electronic Governance 2018 (400; Galway)
  • The 2020 World Under-19 Lacrosse Championships will bring a €250,000 revenue boost for Galway (500)
  • 15th Congress of the European Paediatric Surgeons Association 2019 (1,600; Dublin)
  • British Society of Breast Radiology ASM 2017 (350; Dublin)
  • International Association on Chromatography 2016 (700; Cork)
  • European Grasslands Conference 2017 (600; Cork)
  • Quality in Endoscopy 2017 (1,500; Dublin)