Professional conference organisers face rising costs, staffing and supply issues
AIPCO – the group representing Ireland’s conference organisers – is warning that rising prices are putting the country’s €75 million business tourism market at risk. The group represents nine companies that organise over 175 events annually, bringing over 45,000+ international delegates to this country per year.
The organisation, whose members provide valuable support and professional guidance to Irish conference hosts, are particularly highlighting significant increases in the costs of accommodation, AV equipment, catering, venue hire and transport.
AIPCO Chair Nicola McGrane says the cost of inflation is a real concern, as is staffing: “These are major challenges for association conferences who typically work with very tight budgets. Associations have also taken quite a hit financially in recent years and are very much still in financial recovery mode. The cancellation of live in-person events saw a real draining of talent from the sector and rebuilding that pool is a priority. Some people are choosing not to return to our industry and training new people will take time. We’re doing that while simultaneously working extremely hard to get the industry and events back up and running. It’s a hectic time for our members”.
With internal AIPCO research showing members’ business impacts one in nine jobs in the Business Tourism Sector, Nicola says she and her colleagues are a vital part of the business tourism ecosystem: “The knowledge our network has to offer each organisation we work with is truly invaluable. We have seen and done it all in terms of securing fantastic events for this country, that can showcase our rich culture and business scene alongside the world class hospitality and tourist attractions Ireland offers. Preparation for these events begins up to ten years in advance, so that gives you an idea of the long-term relationships we build here and abroad that generate far-reaching benefits for our reputation and economy. Ours is a sector that has a really bright future once we can access the resources and talent that can help it recover and thrive again”.
These issues and more will be on the agenda at AIPCO’s upcoming annual Business Tourism Conference, due to take place 2-3 March at the Fota Resort in Cork. The focus will be on ‘Reflect and Connect’, and the event is an important opportunity for members and networking contacts to discuss the realities facing the sector. Organisers are excited for their international panel to discuss global trends and a national panel of experts will focus on “getting back to excellence“.
Speakers at the event will include:
- Ori Lahov, CEO, Kenes Group and President of IAPCO (International Association of Professional Congress Organisers)
- Carina Bauer, CEO IMEX Group
- Neil Brownlee, Head of Business Events, Visit Scotland
- Barry Winkless, Chief Strategy Officer, Cpl Group
For more information or to register to attend next month, go to https://aipco.ie/business-tourism-conference/