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Tourism conference to return to Ennistymon

The National Tourism Conference, which took place in Ennistymon at the weekend and generated tens of thousands of euro for the local economy, will be held in the town again next year, organisers confirmed.

This is the 21st year that the conference has been held in Ennistymon and it is something that local organisers believe has been hugely beneficial, not just locally, but to the county as a whole. Reports that the conference may move to Ennis in 2010 were rubbished by Flan Garvey, chairman of the organising committee, who confirmed that work is already underway on next year’s conference, which would be held once again in Ennistymon.
Flan, the former mayor of Clare, believes the conference is vital not just for local businesses but for charities too.
“We do two charity draws on the Friday night and the Saturday night of the conference and this year, Sister Mary Ann Neylon of Inagh, who works with the missions in Peru, and Cahercalla Hospice both earned the better of €5,000 from our presence in Ennistymon,” he said.
“We sent a tour group to parts of North Clare and a group to East Clare and that shows parts of Clare that the delegates wouldn’t see if they were just coming to Ennistymon. In the middle of the winter, the off-season, we get to showcase not just North Clare but all Clare and we know that lots of our delegates come back with their families and their partners for holidays and weekends away and that is where the big spin-off is for the economy,” Flan outlined.
More than 250 delegates from Ireland, both North and South, as well as the USA, Britain and mainland Europe attended the two-day conference.
“We noticed in recent years that councillors have been bringing their partners with them and making a weekend out of it, further boosting local businesses.
“A lot of the partners were ladies and they spent quite big money over the course. I know of three women who went into Ennistymon at the weekend and bought three coats but it is not just for the big purchases. It is also hugely important for the restaurants, the people who sell the papers, the shops that sell the lotto, bookshops and all those things,” Flan told The Clare Champion.
Although the conference has been held annually for more than two decades, this year presented its own challenges.
“The conference was a great success because the council elections took place last June and a lot of the old guard were gone, including myself. We were worried about what the new ones would think of the conference and County Clare but they came in great numbers and we were delighted with that.
“The second big challenge this year was the weather and the terrible driving conditions but in spite of that, most of the Northern councillors still came because they wanted to be with us and they wanted to enjoy themselves as well,” Flan continued.


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