• Cyril McAree

UK & Irish Convention Bureaux Join Forces to Recruit Expert Ambassadors

Fáilte Ireland and Cork Convention Bureau are hosting the UK and Ireland’s leading convention bureaux at the Great Ambassador Networking Group (GANG) this week - an annual event to share ideas and best practice around securing top global conferences through the help of expert ambassadors.

Delegates from organisations across the UK and Ireland - including convention bureaux, tourism bodies, convention centres and Universities - have come together for the annual GANG event, which was set up in 2009 to share innovation and best practice in running major conventions and working with local ambassadors to bid for conferences. Over 75 per cent of all international association conferences that come to Ireland do so at the direct invitation of a local Irish member or host, something which Fáilte Ireland’s Meet in Ireland team maximises through its Conference Ambassador programme – a unique programme which supports individuals and experts who want to host an international conference in Ireland. The Meet in Ireland team will share the successes of this programme with the GANG delegates and get insights into the work being done in the UK to recruit conference ambassadors. Fáilte Ireland's Meet in Ireland Manager, Ciara Gallagher, said: “Ireland is increasingly being recognised overseas as a leader in its approach to running conferences and getting ambassadors on board. International conferences are big business for Ireland - in fact last year we secured business events worth €419m, accounting for a total of 262,000 international delegates. “We know that business tourists are not only looking for world-class venues and facilities - more and more, meeting planners are seeking destinations with large clusters of aligned industries and industry leaders. Home to well over 1,000 multinationals and the brightest of minds, Ireland is well placed to deliver this as a centre of innovation – but we need to get industry ambassadors on board to help bring the major conferences and associations in. “Hosting the GANG event this year will give us more insight into how we can evolve our Conference Ambassador programme to give even more ambassadors the support they need to get big events on to our shores.” Evelyn O’Sullivan, Manager at Cork Convention Bureau, added:“At Cork Convention Bureau we have worked with all types of individuals from industry leaders, to cattle breeders and robotic surgeons, and have inspired them to use their connections to secure a conference or event for Cork. We help people to bid for, win and organise these events, but we can’t do it without conference ambassadors. Through the Cork Conference Ambassador Programme we have identified Cork-based individuals who are members of international associations or organisations and have the potential to bring a conference or event to the region. “More than €80m has been generated from conferences in the past 10 years here in Cork. During the last 12 months alone, we have helped bring more than 14,000 delegates to Cork, 10,000 of whom were international visitors. Hosting GANG 2018 in Cork is a great opportunity to give an overview to our UK counterparts of 15 years of conference ambassador programmes in Ireland. Our programmes have come a long way, our ambassadors have come a long way and having an opportunity to discuss best practice with over 35 industry colleagues is very welcome. We also hope that our guests enjoy a taste of the famous Cork hospitality during their visit.”


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