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AVEA announces 2023 Annual Conference will be in Co Clare


Tourism chiefs, international experts, and over 200 delegates from visitor attractions expected in Ennistymon and the Burren UNESCO Geopark for two-day conference in October

AVEA’s 6th Annual Conference will take place on Monday 23rd and Tuesday 24th October 2023, at The Falls Hotel in Ennistymon.

The theme of the Conference is “World Class Experiences – Local Authenticity,” focusing on how tourism businesses must deliver excellent and memorable experiences to their visitors, while remaining true to the spirit of Irish hospitality.

Delegates will hear from tourism leaders Paul Kelly (CEO of Fáilte Ireland), Alice Mansergh (CEO of Tourism Ireland), John McGrillen (CEO of Tourism Northern Ireland), and Eoghan O’Mara Walsh (CEO of the Irish Tourism Industry Confederation.)

International speakers include Head of Hampton Court Palace Rachel Mackay, and Rich Neville, who has led the operations teams for both ABBA Voyage and the BBC Earth Experience in London. Kelly Molson, MD of Rubber Cheese, will report on changing trends for booking experiences online, and findings from AVEA research on how visitor attractions meet the requirements of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community will be revealed.

Launching the event at an AVEA Forum, chairman Geraldine Enright, who is Director of the Cliffs of Moher Experience, said ‘I am delighted that the Conference is coming to my home county! The programme is designed to showcase the very best of Clare through our AVEA members, with Learning Journeys built in to give our delegates the experience of being a visitor, while taking a ‘peek behind the curtain.’

Catherine Flanagan, CEO of AVEA, said ‘Clare is a stronghold of Irish tourism, and features on itineraries for thousands of visitors every year. The county should be very proud of what has been achieved, with a strong and united tourism business community that is highly professional, but which has never lost that authentic ‘sense of place’ that is so highly prized by our international guests.’

A panel focusing on collaboration and cooperation amongst Clare tourism businesses will feature local entrepreneur Ivan Tuohy, owner of Doolin Ferry Liam O’Brien, MC of Aillwee Burren Experience Nuala Mulqueeney, and former hotelier Stephen Hanley who was recently appointed to manage Bunratty Castle and Folk Park.

Delegates will be taken on a Learning Journey to the Cliffs of Moher Experience, and Caherconnell Stone Fort, and to mitigate the carbon footprint, coach transfers will be arranged.

Geraldine added ‘networking has always been at the heart of AVEA, along with knowledge exchange, research, advocacy and problem-solving, so this is sure to be an event with lots of engagement, and lively conversation, while shining a spotlight on the very best visitor experiences that Clare has to offer.’

Tickets for non-members (€175)* can be booked at https://tinyurl.com/AVEA23. The conference is being supported by Clare County Council, Tourism Ireland, and Fáilte Ireland.