Amount Web Summit brings in and its level of State support
Roughly equivalent to big sports weekend and earns less than Dublin Horse Show
Web Summit: its impact is put at €37 million by Fáilte Ireland. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons / The Irish Times
How much extra business does the Web Summit bring, and how does its State support compare with other events?
Its impact is put at €37 million by Fáilte Ireland, but this doesn’t account for business displaced by its 30,000 attendees.
“It’s roughly equivalent to an All-Ireland final or a rugby weekend,” said one Dublin hotelier on Friday.
IDA Ireland spent about €100,000 at the summit last year but considered this a normal commercial transaction for event participation.
The summit just happened to be in its home city. There are no other Irish events to which IDA makes similar contributions. Enterprise Ireland last year spent €265,000.
The Dublin Horse Show, which attracts more than 100,000 visitors over five days in July, is the city’s most lucrative private event. The State, via Fáilte Ireland, is a prime sponsor. It contributes “about €100,000”.
St Patrick’s Festival
Fáilte Ireland said it gives €200,000 to the New Year Festival, which is run by MCD and Holohan Leisure on behalf of the city, while it gives “about €20,000” to the Bloomsday festival, which it says brings 15,000 overseas visitors.
Fáilte Ireland does not give direct financial inducements to bring events to Ireland but offers financial support at the bid stage, according to its Dublin Convention Bureau. It will also pay towards the marketing of major events.
Convention Centre Dublin in the docklands, which hosts events that can bring up to 13,000 delegates to the city, receives no direct financial support, although individual event organisers may receive some bidding assistance.
One of Web Summit co-founder Paddy Cosgrave’s main gripes was over hotels, which he said “gouged” attendees. Irish Hotels Federation president Stephen McNally said he welcomed the summit but rejected the claim of overcharging.
Reasonable hotel rates
“It’s still cheaper to stay in a hotel for three nights than to buy a ticket for the Summit,” he said. He added that “he knows for a fact” the Summit was recently offered an extra 2,000 hotel rooms for its use, on top of the 3,500 it has already held, but its organisers “didn’t take up the offer”.
The Web Summit also appeared to request free Garda assistance, though organisers of private events are expected to pay for their use of the force’s resources. In 2013 the Garda received €3 million in such fees, according to figures supplied to the Dáil Committee of Public Accounts. MCD was the biggest spender, with €568,000.
Croke Park and the Aviva Stadium also pay charges for the Garda inside the stadium at sports events, but not outside. Event organisers usually liaise directly with the Garda on traffic plans and road closures, which is the force’s responsibility.