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HANDS UP WHO WOULD LIKE A GREAT VENUE...King's Hall, Balmoral, Belfast, BT9 6GW T. 028 9066 5225 E. W. King's Hall Complex is Northern Ireland's largest and most versatile venue; with capabilities to host any exhibition, conference or event.The King's Hall Complex is much more than space for your event, it's space for your imagination.Add an extra element to your Exhibition News discount Save up to 50% Quote EN NEWS 1Dempsey 2810 ENGAGE, ENTERTAIN &INTERACTevent, tradeshow, exhibition and marketing campaigns with NomadiXdiscountContact Derek Dempsey 0845 050 THE MESSAGE TO THEMWearable, digital overhead screensILLUMINATE YOUR MESSAGERoaming hand held projectors for small or giant projectionsNomadix half page.indd 116/07/2011 08:55:05

VENUE 29Ireland's image has suffered in the face of the economic crisis but its venues are keeping afl oat with a mixture of local, national and increasingly, international business. Nadia Cameron reports very geographic region has been impacted in some way by the sliding economy, but Ireland has arguably been one of the hardest countries hit. Crippled by public debt, the implosion of its property market and the global economic crisis, the country has faced fi scal volatility and uncertainty. This has subjected exhibition venues to questions about their viability, credibility and competitiveness against UK and international rivals. Despite the challenges, Irish venues have worked hard to bring exhibition organisers through their doors. In the past 12 months, they have been helped by the launch of The Convention Centre Dublin (CCD), a new selling point to national and international event organisers looking for a destination that combines world-class facilities with cultural strength. Efforts by public and private sectors to drive event business into the country off the back of the CCD launch have also raised the profi le of the Emerald Isle.Citywest International Events and Convention Centre is a newer entrant to Dublin's venue offering, appearing on the map in 2010. Its special events and exhibitions manager Sally-Anne Browne said clients are largely from the UK and Ireland. However, partnerships with the CCD, Dublin Tourism and Failte Ireland promoting Dublin as a destination to organisers in Europe and the US are also delivering international business. The venue offers up to 15,000sqm of interconnected exhibition space across three fl oors. EVENUESOPEN FOR BUSINESSWhile shows have largely been trade-based so far, the launch of the new Luas lightrail service in July connecting Citywest to Dublin's city centre, plus Citywest's accessibility for visitors across the country, is seeing more consumer exhibitions moving in. "Dublin previously really only had one exhibition venue before - the RDS [Royal Dublin Society]," Browne explained. "From that point of view, it has been restrictive for organisers. We're opening up new markets for organisers that weren't accessible previously and people who hadn't looked at Ireland before are looking at us now."Citywest has secured Irish editions of established shows such as Top Gear as well as the Northern Irish Wedding Journal and Irish organiser-based brands SelfBuild and the Access Care and Mobility Expo. As the market turns a corner, Browne claimed launch exhibitions are popping up and people are preparing to take bigger risks again."Over the last year, organisers have started to look to launch again as positivity is coming back into the market," Browne said. "Organisers are looking at the current trends and evolving shows to suit them." For example, grow-your-own vegetable and environment-based exhibitions are being introduced.RETURNING OPTIMISMRDS commercial director Michele Griffi n agreed exhibition business was on the way up but organisers are cautious. Most of the Dublin-based venue's exhibitions are run by UK organisers and account for 50 per cent of overall event bookings. RDS offers 23,000sqm of exhibition space."These are completely different times and event organisers are looking at their business in different ways while looking for more value," Griffi n said. "Exhibition organisers are still investing and are taking a cautious approach before making bookings. We have responded with a competitive offering with extra value to the event organiser and with visitor numbers for trade and consumer exhibitions remaining steady, we can see the confi dence of exhibition organisers coming back again." RDS has picked up a number of new exhibitions in 2011 and 2012 and also witnessed increased ticket sales for its in-house run Dublin Horse Show and Art Fair."From our events we are seeing Irish consumers spending at home and supporting well-established events here in Ireland, which is great for the industry," Griffi n continued. "Ireland may be a small country but demand for events and exhibitions is still strong despite the economic climate. "Consumer exhibitions are holding their own and visitor numbers are also very positive. There has been a dip in certain types of trade events especially around property and construction areas, which was predictable. Despite this, other trade events are remaining strong as businesses realise the importance of trade exhibitions."