An evidence informed approach to planning for event management in Ireland: an examination of the European Indicator System
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The live entertainment and events industry in Ireland is experiencing significant exponential growth, generating over €1.7 billion in economic activity and attracting over 4 million holidaymakers each year (Green, 2017; Fáilte Ireland, 2019). As such, events have become a lucrative and integral component of Ireland’s tourism offering and are critically important to Ireland’s economic health (Department of Transport Tourism and Sport, 2015). Fáilte Ireland (2018) remarked that events offer the perfect opportunity to showcase all that Ireland has to offer, its culture, its people and its place. Their ability to revitalise tourism destinations and to enhance the competitiveness of tourism destinations has resulted in events often being referred to as the “lifeblood of Irish Tourism” (Fáilte Ireland, 2016). Because of this, events have become central to the Governments plans to develop the tourism industry offering at a national and local level in Ireland. A number of Government initiatives have subsequently been developed to support the growth and competitiveness of the event industry. One such initiative was the ‘Gathering’, an event based tourism initiative aimed to mobilise Irish Diaspora to return to Ireland through organised local gatherings and events. This initiative attracted over 275,000 visitors and generated €170 million in tourism revenue, thereby helping the Government to achieve their economic and social objectives. Therefore, the reputation of events as a major direct contributor of economic activity is a testament to Ireland’s unique tourism offering and the efforts of Government in supporting event developments. However, a challenge for Local Authorities is how best to manage and sustain this growth moving into the future (Maguire and Hanrahan, 2017; Maguire, 2018). While a number of events are financially supported by Local Authorities in an effort to support tourism and event growth (Wood, 2006; Maguire, 2018), it is essential that Local Authorities take action to secure the economic benefits of events and the future competitiveness and sustainability of the industry.
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