MORE than 40 business events, from symposiums to large international conferences and global summits, brought an estimated 9,000 delegates to Cork in 2022, 80% of whom were international visitors. The value is estimated to be worth €14.4 million to the local economy.
Cork Convention Bureau hosted its annual Cork Conference Ambassador Awards in Castlemartyr Resort to pay special tribute to 68 ambassadors who brought these 40 events to the region, including four overall category winners. All of these events were organised with the support of the Cork Convention Bureau.
The conference ambassadors were recognised for their vision and hard work in ensuring that Cork benefited from a well-needed boost of business tourism, and for helping the city continue to be a leading European destination for big conventions.
Since Cork Convention Bureau established the Cork Conference Ambassadors programme in 2010, which identifies local members of international associations and supports them in bidding for international conferences to come to Cork, more than €100m has been generated for the local economy.
The Bureau, which is the business arm of Visit Cork, works with people to organise distinctive, efficient and memorable conferences that showcase their organisation or area of study and the Cork region to the highest possible level. Business Tourism is a key part of Visit Cork’s strategic plan for 2022-2026 with plans already in train for 2023 with a number of big events confirmed, including the 15th World Congress of Structural and Multidisciplinary Optimisation WCSMO-15, taking place in 2023 in UCC.
Events hosted in Cork in 2022 ranged in size, with some attracting large numbers. The European Dairy Farmers EDF Annual Congress and the Palaeontological Association Annual Meeting both attracted over 350 delegates each. There was also a huge variety of interests covered across the events from an International Napoleonic Conference, to a Dutch Offshore Wind Trade Mission to Cork, as well as seafarer wellness meeting and seabird group conferences.
The Association Conference Award: Dr. Jenny Butler, a well-known folklorist and Lecturer in the Study of Religions Department, University College Cork, brought two conferences to the city, the European Society for the Study of Western Esotericism 2022 and the 20th European Association for the Study of Religions (EASR) 2022, attracting over 550 attendees.
The Sporting Conference Award: This category was won by Liam Maher and Alan Craughwell who brought the high-profile 2022 International Mixed Ability Rugby Tournament & Conference to Musgrave Park.
Academic Conference Award: Dr Niall Smith and Elizabeth Carroll Twomey from MTU for bringing the European Science Engagement Association Annual Meeting (EUSEA) to MTU’s Bishopstown Campus during the summer.
Sector Recognition Award: This award was awarded to the Teagasc Moorepark Research Centre which organised three large international conferences in Cork city and one online event (due to pandemic restrictions).
The awards were presented by Minister Simon Coveney TD, Minister Michael McGrath TD, the President of MTU Professor Maggie Cusack, and Teagasc Director Professor Frank O’Mara.
According to Failte Ireland, Cork continues to get the greatest share of conferences in Ireland outside of Dublin, representing approximately 20% of the regional value of events. Cork Convention Bureau has confirmed that they already have €3.5 million worth of conference business in the pipeline for the next two years.
However, Evelyn O’Sullivan, Manager at Cork Convention Bureau says that business is top-heavy for 2022: “We have lots of events in the pipeline for early 2023 as this year the focus was on getting rescheduled and imminent events over the line.”