Tourism Northern Ireland hosted the International Association of Professional Congress Organisers (IAPCO) Council Meeting in Belfast, 22-26 May. The international panel met with representatives from Tourism Northern Ireland, Belfast City Council, Visit Belfast, Visit Derry and ICC Belfast as well as industry professionals and key political stakeholders.
The programme of events saw IAPCO Council members sampling local hospitality and attractions including Titanic Belfast, a tour of the Cathedral Quarter and events at both ICC Belfast and the Grand Central Hotel.
According to Tourism Northern Ireland’s Integrated Strategy for Business Events, it’s estimated that the sector could deliver £209m (US$264m) in direct economic impact, and up to 2,000 new jobs by 2030.
Martin Boyle, chief executive of IAPCO, commented: “The economic impact and social legacy that results from people gathering for business and professional events can never be underestimated. It’s important for IAPCO and our members that we all work in close collaboration with destination stakeholders to ensure this remains a fundamental driver in the years to come.
In 2019, IAPCO members delivered 21,423 meetings and events worldwide with an economic impact of €13.8bn (US$14.8bn)
Ellvena Graham, chairperson of ICC Belfast, said: “We recognise that business events are crucial to Northern Ireland’s economic development, and we look forward to collaborating with our partners, and organisations such as IAPCO to achieve the goals set out in the Integrated Strategy for Business Events.”
The Integrated Strategy for Business Events in Northern Ireland, launched by Tourism Northern Ireland in March this year, is seeking to double the number of international conferences hosted annually and attract three times the number of delegates from the UK and Ireland by 2030.
John McGrillen, chief executive of Tourism NI, stated: “Conference and business events are a crucial part of Northern Ireland’s visitor economy and can play a major role in securing investment and job creation across the region. The Northern Ireland Business Events Strategy, sets out an integrated approach to achieve a significant increase in our share of the lucrative business events market and by partnering with IAPCO, we now have the potential to achieve this.”
Odhran Dunne, chief executive of Visit Derry, added: “Collaborating with influential partners such as IAPCO plays a pivotal role in unlocking the potential of our business events sector and helps us achieve our ambitious goal of doubling the number of international conferences hosted annually and attracting three times the number of delegates from the UK and Ireland by 2030.”
The Council members will be at IMEX Frankfurt, 31 May-2 June.