A Memorable Experience at the AIPCO Business Tourism Conference 2024

February 29, 2024

In February 2024, our team from Wow You had the privilege of attending the AIPCO Business Tourism Conference. Held at the elegant Powerscourt Hotel, the event brought together industry leaders, professionals, and enthusiasts from around the globe to discuss, network, and inspire the future of business tourism in Ireland. Here’s a detailed account of the conference that truly embodied the spirit of collaboration and innovation.

Day 1: Thursday, February 8th

Registration and Networking

The conference commenced with the registration at 1:00 PM, a smooth process that allowed attendees to get acquainted with each other over tea and coffee from 2:30 PM to 3:00 PM. The atmosphere was charged with excitement and anticipation as professionals from various sectors exchanged greetings and business cards, setting the tone for the sessions to follow.

Opening and Welcome Address

At 3:00 PM, the conference officially opened with a welcome by MC Padraic Gilligan, Managing Partner at SoolNua. His engaging introduction was followed by a welcome address from Greg Carew, Chair of AIPCO, who highlighted the significance of the event and the promising future of Ireland’s business tourism industry.

Insightful Updates and Keynote Address

The first session was an update on “Meet in Ireland,” presented by Paul Mockler and David Boyce from Failte Ireland and Tourism Ireland respectively. They provided a comprehensive overview of current initiatives and future plans aimed at boosting Ireland’s standing as a premier destination for business events.

Next, Sherrif Karamat, President & CEO of PCMA, delivered the international keynote address titled “Ireland 2030 – Breaking the Glass Ceiling.” Karamat’s speech was inspiring, drawing on Ireland’s past successes and urging the industry to lead the way to a new economic boom, echoing the days of the Celtic Tiger.

About Us

At WoWYou Concepts, we empower individuals, teams, and organisations through dynamic corporate events, immersive trainings, and personalised experiences. Our commitment lies in unlocking potential, fostering growth, and leaving an indelible mark on every participant.

Power of Habits and Industry Updates

Following a Q&A session, Dr. Heather McKee, a Behavioural Change Specialist, took the stage to discuss “The Power of Habits to Unlock Your Potential.” Her insights into behavioural change strategies were both practical and motivational.

Updates from SITE Ireland and MHL Hotel Collection followed, presented by Marie Lawlor and Pauline Corcoran, providing valuable insights into the current state and future directions of these key players in the industry.

Networking and Evening Festivities

The day concluded with a face-to-face networking session, featuring speed meetings between industry partners. This session was a highlight for many, offering a structured yet dynamic environment to forge new connections and explore potential collaborations.

The evening continued with a welcome drinks reception and a lavish conference dinner hosted by Failte Ireland. The dinner, which also featured the Hall of Fame and AIPCO Next Generation Award ceremonies, was a delightful mix of gourmet food, inspiring speeches, and vibrant entertainment, setting the perfect end to an engaging first day.

Day 2: Friday, February 9th

Morning Activities and Opening Sessions

The second day began early with a morning fun run, providing a refreshing start for those who participated. The formal sessions kicked off at 9:00 AM with another opening by Padraic Gilligan, followed by a ministerial address from Catherine Martin, T.D., Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sports & Media. Her speech reinforced the government’s support for the business tourism sector and its vital role in Ireland’s economy.

Debates and Discussions

One of the most anticipated sessions was the international debate titled “Agree to Disagree,” featuring Oscar Cerezales, Chief Strategy Officer at MCI, and Sherrif Karamat. The unique format, where speakers defended positions not of their choosing, made for a highly engaging and thought-provoking discussion on the challenges and opportunities facing Ireland as a business event destination.

This was followed by a panel discussion on inspiring the next generation of event professionals, with contributions from industry leaders including Stephen Meehan from CCD, Ciara Gallagher from Failte Ireland, and others. The conversation centered on education, mentorship, and the evolving needs of the industry.

Informative Updates and Workshops

Throughout the morning, updates from various industry entities, including Dalata Hotel Group and ICC Belfast, kept attendees informed about the latest developments and future plans.

Niamh Moynihan’s session on “Surprisingly Simple Ways to Transform Your Workday” provided actionable tips for enhancing productivity, while Genevieve Leclerc’s talk on “Harnessing the Legacy of Business Events” highlighted the long-term impacts and legacies that well-executed events can leave.

Hands-on Workshop and Closing

After a delicious lunch, the afternoon was dedicated to a hands-on workshop titled “Ireland 2030: Walking the Talk,” led by Oscar Cerezales. This interactive session challenged participants to roll up their sleeves and collaboratively develop strategies for achieving Ireland’s 2030 vision for business tourism.

The conference concluded with closing remarks from Greg Carew and Conor Meany, AIPCO Vice-Chair, and the announcement of the 2025 Business Tourism Conference.

Reflections and Key Takeaways

The AIPCO Business Tourism Conference 2024 was more than just an industry event; it was a confluence of minds, ideas, and visions for the future. As representatives of Wow You, we left the conference inspired and equipped with new knowledge and connections. The sessions underscored the importance of innovation, collaboration, and strategic thinking in driving the next phase of growth for Ireland’s business tourism sector.

We look forward to implementing the insights gained and continuing our active participation in shaping the future of events management in Ireland. Until next year, we carry the spirit of this conference into our daily operations, committed to excellence and innovation in every event we manage.

About Us

At WoWYou Concepts, we empower individuals, teams, and organisations through dynamic corporate events, immersive trainings, and personalised experiences. Our commitment lies in unlocking potential, fostering growth, and leaving an indelible mark on every participant.