Infamous trip may land €500k for region

THE group which invited broadcaster Neil Prendeville to London as part of a promotional drive hopes to land up to €500,000 worth of business tourism from that trip alone.

The Cork Convention Bureau (CCB) was established as an initiative of the Cork Marketing Partnership, an organisation that brings together Cork Chamber, Cork City Council, Cork County Council, the Irish Hotel Federation’s Cork branch, the Cork Business Association, the Port of Cork, Cork Airport Authority and Fáilte Ireland South West region, to market the Cork region as a viable location for international meetings and conferences.

With support from Tourism Ireland, it organised for a group of leading Cork business people to travel from Cork to London on October 19 as part of a major drive to promote the area.

The CCB met with up to 30 influential British conference and incentive buyers. They attended an Irish-themed dinner that evening in Irish chef Richard Corrigan’s Bentley’s Oyster Bar and Grill restaurant where guests were served a traditional Irish meal. It was attended by CCB general manager Evelyn O’Sullivan, CCB chairman Seamus Heaney, Cork Lord Mayor Michael O’Connell and Mayor of Cork County Jim Daly. Guests were presented with their own personalised ‘Cork Bag’ which contained a brochure, a DVD and some samples of famous local produce including Barry’s Tea, Jameson Whiskey and Clonakilty Black Pudding.

In a statement yesterday, the CCB said the event was a “resounding success” with very positive feedback which has already generated significant interest in Cork.

“The CCB are now in the process of negotiating follow on trips to Cork, in particular with two major international organisations, to plan 2011 and 2012 conferences in Cork, which would net more than €500,000 in revenue to the region from these two events alone.”

The CCB operates an ambassador programme which has identified key individuals from the city and country who can help bring more tourism business to Cork.

Then working in partnership with these individuals, the CCB offers help such as sourcing financial support from Fáilte Ireland, helping with the conference bid process, sourcing venues, devising tours and social programmes, and even with practical items like arranging conference bags and marketing materials.

Doing the biz

THE CCB helped secure some €2.1 million worth of lucrative business tourism for the Cork region last year.

Some of the high-profile events it has helped organise and which have helped put the city and country on the international conference map, include:

- The World Rescue Organisation Conference in September.

- The Irish Thoracic Annual Scientific Conference this month.

- Boardmatch Ireland Networking Evening last September.

Official Fáilte Ireland figures show that an international conference delegate is worth about €1,507 to a region.

The figure is calculated by combining the ‘out of pocket’ spend by a delegate with the logistical costs of hosting the event, such as room hire.

Two thirds of this value is attributable to ‘out of pocket’ expenditure.

The average ‘out of pocket’ spend by international delegates was €980 during their stay – excluding fares paid for travel to and from Ireland.

This compares with the €493 spend of a leisure tourist, highlighting the huge potential of the conference sector.

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