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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Business and Sports Tourism delivers EUR50M boost to Ireland’s Shannon Region

The Shannon Region Conference and Sports Bureau has attracted business and sports tourism worth an estimated €50million euro to the Shannon Region during the past decade, figures released today show.

The Bureau, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this week, said it has attracted over 100 sports events, incentives and major international conferences to the Region since 2003, including this November’s Rugby League World Cup fixture between Ireland and Australia in Thomond Park.

Commenting on the growth of the Bureau during the last 10 years, Karen Brosnahan, Business Manager of the Bureau said: “Initially we just worked on business tourism; however the partnership with Shannon Development on sports tourism has enabled us to bid for events that no one body could do successfully. The return on investment for the money spent to market the region is phenomenal with every €1 spent yielding €100 in returned economic impact.  Over the 10 years the bureau has assisted business and sports tourism worth approx €50million.”

Bureau Chairperson, Tony Brazil explained: “The Bureau is all about partnership and people working together for the greater good of their region. Whether that’s a local venue working with us or us supporting a conference or sports ambassador to bid for an event, we have all played a part in putting this region on the map for business and sports tourism over the last decade and will continue to do so for the next 10 years.”

He continued: “Tourism has had a turbulent 10 years globally with economies falling, the Ash Cloud crisis and Ireland’s banking crisis. However, this region has managed to become the best performing region outside of Dublin in its ability to attract international association Conferences. This is a testament to the wonderful conference facilities that this region’s hotels, venues and academic institutions have to offer.”

“Access is a critical piece of the puzzle when attracting International business and with the new Shannon Airport Authority up and running I am confident that we can work with any new routes secured to develop new opportunities for the region in Business and Sports Tourism, as well as continuing our endeavours in existing markets,” Mr. Brazil added.

In talking about Shannon Development’s relationship with the Bureau, Dr. Vincent Cunnane, Chief Executive, Shannon Development said:  “Thanks to the work of the Bureau, the Shannon Region has a proud international reputation as a top destination for sports and conference events. Shannon Development is delighted to have been one of the founding members of the Bureau and to support it during its ten years in operation. Many of the events secured have resulted in an economic dividend and left a lasting legacy. Among the events secured was the Skyride Etape Hibernia which, I am delighted to say, will be reinstated later this year as Shannon Development has secured the intellectual property for the event and is in the process of securing a local operator to stage it.”

Speaking about the Bureau’s successful bid to host a group match in the upcoming Rugby League World Cup, Adam Skerritt, Sports and Events, Shannon Development: “We were initially told that we would never get a game outside the host nations of England Wales but we did, and Ireland meets Australia in Thomond Park on November 9th 2013 for the Rugby League World Cup. We hope it will be a major ‘Gathering’ event in the region attracting over 6,000 Aussie fans and filling Thomond Park to capacity. The event is worth close on €2million to the wider Shannon Region.”

Meanwhile, 150 people joined the Bureau and its partners for a gala dinner in Limerick’s Savoy Hotel at the weekend where guests on the night included conference and event organisers from all over Ireland and UK, sports federations, and representatives of all of  the ambassadors that make up the bureau.

Sir Terry Wogan sent a videolink birthday greeting to the company, of which has been a patron of for the last 7 years.  He spoke of his pride in what the Bureau has achieved and how the crowning glory for him is having the Rugby League World Cup in Limerick in 2013.

Other guest speakers on the night included Paul Keely of Failte Ireland who spoke about the importance of business and sports tourism and the benefits for the Shannon Region in having a conference and sports bureau to assist organisers.  He spoke of how Failte Ireland is delighted to support the bureau and consider it “money well spent” in light of the level of business being attracted to the Shannon Region.

Former Olympian and Irish Sports Council representative, Eamonn Coughlan spoke about the “wealth of sports facilities in the University of Limerick and the wider Shannon Region and the great ambassadors like Gerard Hartmann, Neil Cusack, Frank O'Meara who have all through sport highlighted this region and its sporting attributes”.

For on the Shannon Region Conference and Sports Bureau, visit www.conferenceandsportsbureau.com.