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Attracting Additional Conference Tourism to the Midwest Region Ailse Quinn Dr. Sinéad O’Leary.

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Presentation on theme: "Attracting Additional Conference Tourism to the Midwest Region Ailse Quinn Dr. Sinéad O’Leary."— Presentation transcript:

1 Attracting Additional Conference Tourism to the Midwest Region Ailse Quinn Dr. Sinéad O’Leary

2 Research Title An investigation into the potential to attract additional business tourism to the Midwest region through the development of professional association and academic conferences. 2

3 Research Objectives 1. To gain an understanding of the global meetings market, association conferences and the Irish meetings market. 2. To employ Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT) as a case example of the potential within one organisation to attract association and academic conferences to the Midwest. 3. To assess the responsiveness of LIT academics to becoming Conference Ambassadors. 4. To appraise the Midwest as a business tourism destination. 5. To conduct an audit of associations that the Midwest region has the potential to attract 6. To develop an action plan for the promotion of the Midwest region as a destination for association conferences. 3

4 Background to the study  Downturn in the tourism industry  Main players in the meetings industry  BRIC economies  Association conferences less affected  SMERF sector 4

5 Recovery in the Meetings Industry  Slow and faltering  Emerging economies  Issues affecting recovery 5

6 Characteristics and Benefits of Association Meetings  Decision-making process  Lead time  Delegate numbers  Venue type  Delegate budget  Time of conference  Duration  Partner attendance 6

7 Irish Tourism Industry  200,000 people employed and generates over six billion annually (Fáilte Ireland, 2010)  2009 downturn  2010 further decline  2011 set to improve 7

8 Irish Tourism Industry Changes  VAT rate  Travel tax  Visa arrangements  Airport charges 8

9 Business Tourism in Ireland  Expenditure of international conference delegates.  In 2009 122 international conferences brought 57,000 overseas delegates to the country which was worth €80 million to the economy (Fáilte Ireland, 2010). 9

10 Conference Ambassador Programme  Tool used for attracting conferences to a destination  Irish investment  ‘One of the key pillars’ 10

11 Findings: LIT Case Study 11

12 Findings: LIT Case Study DepartmentMember of Association % Art and Design40 Built Environment60 Business and Humanities80 Science, Engineering & IT77 12

13 Findings: LIT Case Study 13

14 Findings: LIT Case Study Focus Groups  Reasons for not volunteering for a conference ambassador programme.  Suggestions given in the focus group to alleviate doubts regarding participation in conference ambassador programme. 14

15 Findings: LIT Case Study Levels of Involvement in the Conference Ambassador Programme Level 1Find out who decision makers are and make contact Level 2Deliver pack to right people (preferably in person) Level 3Lobby relevant people Level 4Involvement in making a bid (with the aid of government agency) Level 5Involvement post-bid (successful or unsuccessful) 15

16 Findings: The Midwest Region  Established leisure tourism sector.  Good access, via road, rail and air.  US Pre-clearance at Shannon Airport.  Adequate supply of accommodation, dining and shopping facilities. 16

17 Findings: The Midwest Region Average Price Per Room Per Night 2010 - Selected Countries and Limerick. 17

18 Comparison with Southwest Region Average Price Per Room Per Night 2010 - Selected Countries, Limerick and Cork. 18

19 Audit of Associations 19  Compile list of associations that the Midwest has the capacity to attract.  International and national associations under headings such as: medical and science; disability; rural and farming; law and ‘other’.  The list can be used as a tool for stakeholders in the region to target associations both national and international

20 Recommendations Marketing Focus Connectivity Value Focus on small / medium sized conferences Reasonably priced dining with a wide selection of type and price band Not competing on climate, rather the results of the climate Safe destination Attractions 20

21 Recommendations Regional Aims Price stability at the present lower rate Integrated delegate pass Increased familiarisation trips Increased focus on conference ambassador programmes Careful monitoring of association databases to identify associations that could potentially visit the region 21

22 Recommendations Conference Ambassador Programme Analysis and use of organisations in the region Support from leaders in these organisations Education Training and networking events Alleviate doubts by having a pre-emptive strategy Visible administration of conference ambassador programme Specific work requirement Funding for travel to conferences Investigation of voluntary associations Levels of involvement offered to ambassadors 22

23  Thank you!  Any Questions… 23

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