Belfast to benefit from Irish event companies’ merger

Belfast is set to be one of the main beneficiaries following the merger of Dublin’s two biggest conference, destination and event management companies.

The merger of Delaney Marketing Group and Ovation Group could have a significant impact on the lucrative business tourism sector in Northern Ireland, according to the companies’ directors.

The new company – which will trade as Ovation - is seeking to expand into the Northern Ireland market following the deal and will use its international ties to attract visitors to Belfast and the rest of the province.

Patrick Delaney, Managing Director of Delaney Marketing Group, said: “With our established representation in the US, Canada, Scandinavia and Great Britain, we see Northern Ireland as being in an ideal position to benefit from greater business tourism.

“We will be seeking to market Northern Ireland for major conferences, exhibitions and events, as well as the sort of place for management retreats and staff incentives.”

Lesley Maltman, Northern Ireland Director, Ovation Group, whose local clients include BT, Charles Hurst Marketing, Open + Direct and Zurich Advice Network, added: “This is an exciting development. The business tourism sector is expanding rapidly in Northern Ireland and this merger is another boost.

“Figures from the Belfast Visitor and Convention Centre (BVCB) show that business tourism brought £43million to the city in 2000 alone – money that otherwise would not have been spent here.”

The BVCB hailed the arrival of The Ovation Group to Belfast last year, saying that the opening of a company with its pedigree and affiliations with leading international associations in the event and conference world would “send a powerful message about Belfast and its future direction”.

The new Group, employing 50 people, including four in its Northern Ireland office in Holywood, County Down, will be headquartered at the Delaney Marketing offices in Dublin.

It is expected that the company will yield a turnover of in excess of €12million to year-end December 2003 with the objective of increasing revenue to €18 million over a three-year timeframe. Currently with offices in Dublin, Belfast and Cork, the enlarged company plans to expand internationally by 2004. (MB)

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