AIPCO conference hears a welcome for VAT rate extension amid encouraging activity levels
The Association of Irish Professional Conference Organisers (AIPCO) revealed today that their professional staffing levels are still down 44% on pre-pandemic figures. The statistic was announced at the group’s annual Business Tourism Conference at Fota Island resort in Cork today, which was addressed by Minister for Finance, Michael McGrath TD.
A review of AIPCO operations last year showed:
- The number of conference professionals employed by members stood at approximately 130 last year, down significantly on the 2019 figure of 230
- Despite this, AIPCO delivered 147 conferences in 2022, a 40% increase on the 2019 figure.
- 68,500 delegates attended events planned by AIPCO members last year, down 2% on 2019’s total
- AIPCO members delivered events in other countries which attracted 29,000 delegates in 2022. 35% of the revenue from these events comes back to the Irish economy through fees
Chairperson of AIPCO Nicola McGrane paid tribute to her members and said the extension to the lower VAT rate for hospitality will be a boost they all need: “We’ve fought tooth and nail to keep our industry going through the past three years and it’s phenomenal to see the number of events climbing again. I know that our members are putting a huge amount of resources into finding and investing in talent to build up teams so that we can continue to deliver with excellence and drive more International conferences into Ireland. Competitiveness is hugely important in a global marketplace, so the 9% vat rate is very welcome in positioning Ireland against our competition.”
Minister Michael McGrath said “The decision to extend the lower rate of VAT for the hospitality industry for a further six months is designed to provide additional support to businesses like those among AIPCO and the related enterprises that their projects support. The business tourism sector is a really important part of the national economy and the government values their contribution very highly. I’d like to wish Nicola and her members the very best as AIPCO members continue their great work to rebuild their businesses so they can showcase everything Ireland has to offer national and international delegates for many years to come”.
Today’s event is being staged with the support of Failte Ireland and the organisation’s Head of Commercial Development Paul Mockler said business tourism is a vital part of Ireland’s offering: “The work of AIPCO members is often done behind the scenes, but at Failte Ireland we know just how much they do to establish and nurture valuable relationships, ensuring delegates from around Ireland and the world have a worthwhile and enjoyable experience when they come here for an event. We are delighted to be here today and play our part in paying tribute to the efforts of AIPCO members in recent years as they ‘Reflect and Connect’ on their achievements and look to a bright future”.