Shannon Region Conference and Sports Bureau celebrate the ICCA Congress rankings

Pictured here at the Shannon Region Ambassador Awards in 2019 - Professor Eugene Wall, Mary Immaculate College and Professor Vincent Cunnane, LIT (back) with Tony Brazil Limerick Travel, Dr. Puneet Saidha, UL, Ciara Gallagher, Failte Ireland, Karen Brosnahan, Shannon Region Conference Sports Bureau, and Tony Brazil, Limerick Travel (front) (photo taken before social distancing). Picture: Kate Devaney/ilovelimerick.

THE SHANNON Region Conference and Sports Bureau (SRC&SB) had plenty of cause for celebration this week as the annual International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) congress rankings showed Limerick jump 88 places to join Cork at position 123 in Europe and 147 in the world rankings of congress cities.

ICCA monitors all rotating international association conferences that take place worldwide annually over 50pax.

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“ICCA is the go-to tool for most international association planners when looking at destinations to host meetings, so Limericks ranking is vitally important when attracting this lucrative type of business tourism,” said Karen Brosnahan, GM, SRC&SB.

She added that, “Association Conferences makes up almost 75% of all business won for the Shannon region annually with over 90% having a local conference ambassador involved.”

The Bureau and Fáilte Ireland work in partnership with UL, LIT, MIC and LSAD to encourage academic staff to bid for association conferences and offer a suite of financial and practical supports to assist with efforts.

Along with partnering with the bureau and its conference ambassadors to help win this business, Fáilte Ireland also works in monitoring all the conferences that happen in the country and ensuring that the relevant information is sent to ICCA as part of an annual audit.

This ensures that conferences that happen here, that may not have been picked up by ICCA are recorded and added into the scoring process.

2020 was set to be a bumper year for International conferences in Limerick after The Shannon Region Conference and Sports Bureau recorded its best year ever in 2019 delivering events with an economic impact of over €11 million. However, Covid-19 has seen business tourism decimated in the region.

While the group were “devastated” at the tourism loss for 2020 following the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, Tony Brazy, Chair SRC&CB noted more than “80 per cent conferences due to take place in 2020 have rebooked for 2021”.

“This is a hopeful sign for the region and for business tourism. As the bureau navigates the current crisis, we are well positioned to continue to deliver business tourism.  We are working with our partners in Failte Ireland to ensure the Shannon Region message continues to be delivered to the international meetings and incentive market”, he said.

The group considers future outlook to be positive as at time of going to press The Shannon Region Conference and Sports Bureau had won €3 million in new business this year due to come to the region from 2021-2023 with a pipeline of a further €8 million in business prospects for 2021 -2025.

The Bureau has a whole new suite of bid books ready to use for all the local academic institutions and for the corporate sector.

A new meetings and incentive video is launching next week, showcasing the best of the Shannon Region and there are some lovely animations ready for social media on “Meet in Limerick” Meet in Clare” which will all help drive demand once business resumes.

The Shannon Region Conference and Sports Bureau is a public-private partnership. The bureau works in partnership with Failte Ireland to win international business meetings and events for the Shannon region and celebrated 15 years in business in 2018.