The Shannon Region Conference and Sports Bureau, in conjunction with Shannon Development, has launched a new initiative aimed at promoting Limerick’s designation as the first National City of Culture in 2014.
More than 70 people involved in the local arts and cultural sector attended the launch of the “I Am A Limerick Cultural Ambassador” programme, which will see professional support and advice being offered to individuals or organisations planning to bring arts and cultural events to Limerick in 2014. The new programme is designed to provide a targeted approach to attracting conferences and events to Limerick and complements the existing Conference & Sports Ambassadors Programme, which helped bring more than 7 million euro into the Shannon Region during 2011.
One of the key events already secured for 2014 is “The All Ireland Special Olympics Games”. Matt English CEO of Special Olympics Ireland was among those who attended the launch of the new initiative at the weekend.
Speaking at the event Tony Brazil, Chair of the Shannon Region Conference and Sports Bureau said: “Now is the time people have to start thinking of what cultural events, conferences etc can be attracted to Limerick for 2014. The lead in for events is often a minimum of 12-18months and as we saw with the bid for World Gay Games can be anything up to 7 or 8 years. This event was designed to inspire people to become cultural ambassadors for Limerick and to show people the free supports the bureau offers to assist people in bidding for and organising events”
Speaking at the event, Dr. Vincent Cunnane, CEO of Shannon Development said: “It is great for Shannon Development to be partnering once again with the Bureau to launch another ambassador programme to attract business to Limerick.”
“To date, the Sports Ambassador Programme has been very successful in attracting business for Limerick during its tenure as European City of Sport in 2011. I believe the support being shown for the new programme is indicative of how many people want to see Limerick shine in 2014 and put it best foot forward as the truly cultured city it is,” added Mr. Cunnane.
Currently, there are more than 300 ambassadors actively working with the Bureau and Shannon Development to help attract Business and Sports Tourism to The Shannon Region. In 2011, 8 new sports events were secured worth €4.25million and 24 business events worth €3.1 million. 95% of all the conference delegates were international. Events held in the Region as a result of the work carried out by Programme Ambassadors included the European Duathlon Championships in Limerick, the World Single Speed Cycling Championships at Ballyhoura, the Thurles International Hurling Festival, and the Genealogy & Family History Conference in Clare.