Business Tourism Conference - 2020



Thursday 27 February


Coach departure from Fáilte Ireland, 88-95 Amien Street, Dublin 1

11:00 - 15:00

Destination Educational: Site visit to University of Limerick and Thomond Park with Lunch

  • Breakfast bites – Michelin Plate fine dining restaurant ‘The East Room’ at Plassey House.
  • Site visit of University Concert Hall, UL Sport Arena, Cappavilla accommodation.
  • Site Visit of the Rugby Museum and Conference Facilities at Thomond Park.
  • Transfer to Dromoland Castle and Inn at Dromoland.


Business Tourism Conference Opening

Padraic Gilligan, M.C.
Ronan Flood, AIPCO Chair
Richard Phelan, President SITE Ireland



By: 360 Entertainment


Meet in Ireland Presentation

Paul Mockler, Head of Business Development, Fáilte Ireland
Ciara Gallagher, Manager, Meet in Ireland at Fáilte Ireland
Q&A chaired by Padraic Gilligan


Ireland as a Destination and Attracting MICE Business to Your Destination

Rhea Stagner, VP Industry Relations, MARITZ
Jurriaen Sleijster, President & COO of MCI Group


Networking Drinks Reception


Dinner and Hall of Fame Award

Location: Brian Boru Conference Centre

Friday 28 February


Welcome and key learnings from day 1

Padraic Gilligan, M.C.


SITE Ireland Energiser


The Power of Your Presence to Impact, Influence and Inspire in Presentations, Pitches, Conference Calls and Videos

Mark Downey, Speech and Presence


Tourism Northern Ireland Update


ICC Update


Networking break


An Innovative Approach to C-Suite Interactions Through Experience Design

Darragh Quinn, Global Client Experience Lead, Accenture’s Global Centre for Innovation


Carton House Update


Networking Lunch


Dalata Hotel Group Update



Sam Johnston, CIS Manager, Convention Bureau of Ireland
Caitriona Doran, Dublin Convention Bureau
Caoimhe Rice, Senior Sales Manager, Moloney & Kelly

Learner Outcomes:

  • The role of sustainability In Business Tourism
  • Sustainability as a “must have” rather than a “nice to have”- the business we’re losing
  • Extending our impact beyond the meeting space – how to shape our industry to sustain itself and the planet


How Do We Position Ireland When Pitching?

1. Association Pitch (DCB and PCO – collaborative pitch) – 20mins
2. Incentive Pitch (SITE) – 20mins


Panel Discussion and Feedback on Ireland’s Pitching Position

Rhea Stagner, VP Industry Relations, MARITZ
Jurriaen Sleijster, President & COO of MCI Group


Conclusion Padraic Gilligan and Ronan Flood



Speaker Bios

Paul Mockler
Fáilte Ireland

Paul heads up the commercial development division at Fáilte Ireland (The National Tourism Development Authority), the State Agency responsible for guiding and supporting the sustainable development of tourism in Ireland.

Paul leads the teams responsible for Growing Overseas Visitors (Business & Leisure) to Ireland and promoting Ireland as a top class MICE (Business Tourism sector) destination under the Meet In Ireland brand. He also leads the Dublin Convention Bureau, Golf Ireland (the brand for promoting Ireland as a world class golf tourism destination), Leisure Business Development and International Trade & Events teams.
Paul has over 20 years of tourism sales experience having worked with companies such as Ryanair, EUJet, the Cliffs of Moher, Shannon Heritage & Shannon Development prior to joining Fáilte Ireland.

Ciara Gallagher
Fáilte Ireland

Ciara Gallagher has over 20 years’ experience in international tourism with particular expertise in tourism sales strategy and destination marketing.

Ciara heads up the Meet In Ireland Team in Fáilte Ireland, where her remit is to develop the strategy to grow the international MICE market to Ireland. Under her leadership, the team focus on the very early stages of winning an event for Ireland, where they identify and develop business opportunities and provide the supports to help trade convert. Ciara has a very strong track record of delivering successful projects, having been chosen as Project Lead on numerous high profile initiatives including The Gathering Ireland 2013, Giro d ’Italia 2014 and the International Sports Tourism Initiative.

Ciara has previously won several prestigious awards in the Tourism Sector during her career while holding roles in Fáilte Ireland. Ciara is passionate about family, friends, good food and interiors.

Pádraic Gilligan

Pádraic is Managing Partner at SoolNua, a specialist agency helping destinations, hotels and venues with marketing, strategy and training for the MICE marketplace. His company provides marketing services to SITE and Gilligan currently serves as Chief Marketing Officer for the association. Prior to founding SoolNua with his long time collaborator and friend Patrick Delaney, Gilligan was Vice President of Industry Relations at MCI and Managing Director of Ovation, the global DMC founded by Delaney and Gilligan in 1994 and sold to MCI in 2007.

He served as international president of SITE in 2008 and has won many industry awards including DMC Personality of the Year (ADMEI) and Changemaker with US based MeetingsNet. He is a former Trustee of the SITE Foundation and was on FICP’s Hospitality Partner board for 6 years. He blogs regularly at

Rhea Stagner

Rhea Stagner, CIS, CITP, Vice President of Supplier Relations and Sourcing at Maritz Travel, has worked in the meetings, events and incentive travel industry for 17 years. In her current role she focuses on building strategic relationships with destination management companies, hotels and supplier partners. She also leads our business intelligence team in charge of data intelligence and industry insights. During her tenure, Rhea has served in a variety of roles with responsibility for ensuring innovation and quality control for Maritz Travel and its clients. She has led several corporate-wide customer events, implemented new standards for buyer performance, and developed new metrics and standards to foster more strategic supplier relationships. She recently completed two terms as a Trustee at SITE Foundation, leading the Foundation as its global president in 2017. Rhea is in constant demand as an industry expert and has spoken at events all over the world on the power and purpose of incentive travel.

Jurriaen Sleijster

Jurriaen Sleijster is President & COO of MCI Group. Jurriaen represents MCI in the international meetings & events industry and is actively involved in many professional associations including the International Conference Partnership (INCON) the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA), International Association of Professional Congress Organisers (IAPCO) and Meetings Professional International (MPI). A frequent speaker, chair and moderator at international conferences, he also speaks at business schools, coaches students, leads training programmes for senior management and publishes a variety of thought leadership articles. Jurriaen’s events career began in 1988 and his previous senior-level positions include Director of the Congress Department of the European Society of Cardiology and MD of Martlet, a UK events agency.

Mark Downey

We are delighted that Mark Downey will deliver an informative and interactive session on the impact of your personal presence in pitches, presentations, conference calls and videos: voice, speech, body language, and human connection.

Mark was personally chosen by internationally renowned Patsy Rodenburg (“Goddess of Voice” Forbes Magazine) to be her first Certified Voice Coach in Europe. Mark’s knowledge of body language derives from his studies in Paris under the master of the body in movement, Jacques Lecoq. Mark has also been certified as a voice coach by the legendary Seth Riggs.
Unlocking each of his client’s potential to become the most effective and powerful communicator they can be, Mark believes that this is the birth right of each and every person regardless of education, gender or ethnicity.

Among the companies which have trusted Mark’s work are : Google, Coca Cola, Musgrave, EUIPO, SIEMENS, Mater Private, EDF Energy, SAMSUNG, Irish Distillers, Worldpay, BNP Paribas, RSA Security, Pwc,, Solvar.

Eimear Callaghan
Tourism Northern Ireland

Eimear is Business Solutions Manager at Tourism Northern Ireland and heads up the team responsible for growing business to Northern Ireland through B2B platforms. This includes promoting Northern Ireland as destination of choice for Meetings &Incentives and working with key partners to convert business. Eimear also leads on business development for International Travel Trade. She has eighteen year’s experience in marketing and tourism and eight with Tourism Northern Ireland. Previous roles include ni 2012 Project Lead and Golf Tourism Marketing Manager. Eimear is passionate about family, friends and the outdoors!

Marie-Claire Caldwell
ICC Belfast

Marie-Claire joined the ICC Belfast team in 2018 as the Marketing Campaign Manager where she was first tasked with repositioning the venues conferencing brand to ICC Belfast to establish a globally recognised brand identity within the industry as an international convention centre. Since then Marie-Claire has taken on the role of Head and Sales and Marketing and is responsible for devising and implementing creative campaigns that engage the target audience and exceed expectations from prospect through to repeat client. Working across both the association and corporate markets, Marie-Claire creates commercial relationships and emotional connections with new and existing clients in order to deliver economic impact for the city of Belfast. Prior to joining the ICC Belfast team she gained significant experience in the B2C and B2B sectors working with some of Northern Ireland’s most successful indigenous companies and holds an MSc in Management and a BSc in Communication, Advertising and Marketing from Ulster University.

Darragh Quinn

Darragh is the Global Client Experience Lead at The Dock, Accenture’s Global R&D Centre for Innovation. He is responsible for designing and managing bespoke innovation experiences for Accenture’s most valued clients. Darragh also serves as a subject matter expert for our hospitality clients from all four corners of the world.

He is devoted to customer advocacy that develops and executes a comprehensive client experience. Having spent over 10 years across multiple management positions within luxury hospitality, Darragh fully understands both the client and the operational functions of a truly personalised service. Darragh’s goal is to drive customer satisfaction within Accenture to result in successful business outcomes.

Carlo Boersma
Carton House

Currently undergoing a complete renovation from its’ 165 guest bedrooms to the recently unveiled Carriage House and the Manor House restoration, Carton House is one of Ireland’s most prestigious resort Hotels and National treasure.

As Director of Sales and Events at Carton House, Carlo is the driving force behind a focused and pro-active domestic and International MICE department, leading and supporting the resort’s strategies and continuous business growth across key market segments including residential, conference, events, leisure, corporate, food & beverage, golf and spa

Susan Sheahan
Dalata Hotel Group

Dalata Hotel Group is the largest hotel operator in Ireland. We operate the Maldron Hotel brand & Clayton Hotel brand as well as managing a portfolio of partner hotels. We currently operate 44 hotels with an additional 8 currently in construction.

Sam Johnston
Dublin Convention Bureau

My lucky day was in 2015 when I became Manager of Dublin Convention Bureau. I’ve worked in rural and urban DMOs since 1999, initially in leisure tourism but made the move to MICE in 2010 and haven’t looked back. My early career involved welding equipment but left that after an incident involving nuclear submarines – ask me about that some day!

Initially a sceptic around our need to address the climate crisis, I grasped a deeper understanding of our need for urgent action in 2017 and have been leading our own industry’s charge to more sustainable practices since.

For headspace I coach U12s mini-rugby – working with the kids brings laughs, pride and frustrations, but allows me only to focus on them while out on the pitch.

Favourite thing to do in Dublin – Walking into the Long Room of the Old Library at Trinity College still gives me a shiver – I just think it is such a spectacular space. I love a good pint of Guinness and there are no shortage of great spots to enjoy it in Dublin. To get a perfect pint with a creamy head after the correct pour is so enjoyable.

Caitriona Doran
Dublin Convention Bureau

Caitríona is part of the Dublin Convention Bureau team in Fáilte Ireland and is a strong advocate for sustainable business tourism. Caitríona was a leading member in launching Dublin and Meet In Ireland onto the Global Destination Sustainability Index. She has worked with the Irish Hospitality sector and regional convention bureaus to promote a sustainable and environmentally proactive business tourism industry for the past three years, and as a result Meet In Ireland won “Best Improved Destination” for sustainability in 2019. She has also worked to develop a nationwide corporate social responsibility programme for international delegates visiting here, enabling them to connect with the local community and ensure their event has a meaningful and long lasting impact.

Caoimhe Rice
Moloney and Kelly

Caoimhe is a Senior Sales Manager for Moloney & Kelly DMC and passionate about the incentive industry in Ireland. Covering both the US and European markets, she sells Ireland as an incentive destination travelling to meet with clients all over the world. She has been awarded both her CIS and CITP certifications and loves to create innovative and immersive programs for M&K clients.

Caoimhe has been involved in SITE since day 1 of her career having been one of the co-founders of SITE Young Leaders Ireland. She served on that board for 4 years, then took up the position of Co-Chair of the SITE Young Leaders Global Committee in 2019. She co-hosted the SITE YL Conference in Las Vegas where 85 young professionals from all over the world convened to network and share ideas on the future of incentive travel. Caoimhe has just taken on a new role of Sustainability Officer for the SITE Ireland Board where she hopes to make a difference as an association to safe guard our industry and our environment at the same time.

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