Business tourism was worth €162 million to the Republic during the first nine months of the year, outstripping the entirety of 2017, according to figures from Fáilte Ireland.
There have been more than 360 conferences representing more than 117,000 international delegates on Irish shores so far this year.
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The figures also show strong growth in regional areas, with Fáilte Ireland supporting the conversion of a further €31 million for locations in Shannon, Cork, Kerry and Galway.
Fáilte Ireland said it hoped to drive these numbers even higher over the coming days after sending a team to Las Vegas for the annual IMEX America event.
IMEX is one of the largest worldwide exhibitions for incentive travel, meetings and events, and is attended by more than 3,200 suppliers and 5,500 meeting planners who organise international meetings, incentives, conferences and events.
Over the coming days in Las Vegas, Fáilte Ireland will directly pitch to 230 overseas buyers through targeted presentations, as well as facilitating more than 85 one-to-one meetings for Irish trade.
The 34 members of Irish trade joining Fáilte Ireland also have an additional 470 appointments confirmed with international buyers over the course of the exhibition.
Speaking at IMEX America, Fáilte Ireland chief executive Paul Kelly emphasised how the tourism agency intends to leverage the strong potential of business tourism to generate greater tax revenue and employment for the Republic over the coming years.
He also outlined how business tourism has the ability to generate significant jobs and revenue for regional areas, as well as Dublin, which has traditionally benefitted from this sector.
“Tourism is a significant contributor to Ireland’s wellbeing, both socially and economically,” he said.
“It supports 240,000 jobs and also generates €7.2 billion in revenue and €1.7 billion in Exchequer earnings – the equivalent of over €1,000 for every household in Ireland.
“In the business tourism sector, we believe there’s huge potential for future growth and the business we’ve won so far this year, exceeding the total figure for 2017 already, is testament to that.”
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