Commander Chris Hadfield, Ireland's Tourism Ambassador, visits the Wild Atlantic Way.Discover Ireland

There is a vibrant emerging business tourism sector in Ireland that is adding greatly to Ireland’s image internationally. Opportunity, the annual global IIBN conference, taking place in New York this week will discuss the new influencers fueling this growth. Events such as the Dublin Web Summit and the recent One Young World international event are making Ireland an increasingly valuable location to host business events.

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Alison Metcalf, head of Tourism Ireland in New York said “Business tourism is an extremely important, high yield sector and Tourism Ireland is working hard to promote the island of Ireland in the US as a premier destination for business travelers, working with decision-makers in the MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and events), highlighting destinations like the Titanic Quarter and successful global summits.”

Ireland is building on the success of the Gathering, in 2013, and the launch of the Wild Atlantic Way this year. The Gathering delivered more than $200 million in revenue as well as 270,000 additional visitors. Tourism visitors to Ireland in 2013 were up 10% on the previous year. Early indications are that the Wild Atlantic Way, opened earlier this year is having a big impact on tourism numbers in the west of Ireland.

Other successes to point to are the recent Croke Park Classic college football game featuring Penn State and University of Central Florida. This was built on the Notre Dame vs Navy game two years ago.

Maura Kelly, developer of this content for the conference said “Side by side with the traditional tourism attractions and events mentioned above, Ireland is developing a world class reputation for business conferences and events.The annual Dublin Web Summit, the recent One Young World Summit as well as the European Business Angel Network have put Dublin and Ireland on the map in terms of conference locations.”

There are a number of entrepreneurs and companies disrupting the event and conference sector, none more visible than Paddy Cosgrove, founder of the Dublin Web Summit. Cosgrove is applying the practice of data science and analytics to streamline and improve his attendees’ experience. Is this the future for attending events?

IIBN Opportunity will discuss this development with a panel of event and tourism professionals. Led by Paul O’Kelly, this panel includes, Alison Metcalf, Head of Tourism Ireland, New York, Valerie McGrane, KPMG, Aoife Roche, The Doyle Group (Irish hotel chain), and Mary Ann Pierce, CEO of MAP Digital events company.

They will review the world-class facilities and digital infrastructure on the island. In addition to this, the panel will be exploring the recent success experienced in Northern Ireland with the filming of the popular series “Game of Thrones” and the resulting boost in tourism.

Business tourism is an extremely important, high yield sector, which can deliver significant economic benefits for Ireland. How can Ireland expand its traditional tourism brand to include other activities to win new visitors to Ireland? The benefits are obvious - job creation, startups, new investment opportunities.

There are a few tickets for Opportunity remaining. Get them here.