Eight months after its establishment, the Association of Visitor Experiences & Attractions (AVEA) is holding its inaugural conference in Croke Park today.

The aim of the conference is to bring together businesses within the sector to share knowledge and insights in a bid to boost future growth. The theme of the conference is ‘Planning for Future Success’ and features a number of speakers including Charles Coyle, Tayto Park General Manager, Tourism Ireland’s Mark Henry (Director of Marketing) and Fáilte Ireland’s Paddy Matthews (Manager, Visitor Attractions Unit), with Nick Varney, CEO of Merlin Entertainments, providing the day’s keynote speech. A variety of panel discussions in the afternoon, moderated by Irish Independent Travel Editor Pól Ó Conghaile, will share the experiences of leaders in food experiences, tour operations, and retail sales.

‘The purpose of this, our inaugural conference is to bring together top class speakers from within the industry and associated with our sector who will share their individual experiences, global trends and expertise, providing valuable insights and learnings with our delegates,” said Paul Carty, Chairman of AVEA. “We are very pleased and excited to have Nick Varney, CEO, Merlin Entertainments, as our Key Note Speaker at our conference this year.  Nick has spoken at many global conferences and events.  He brings a unique understanding of the global Visitor Attractions & Entertainment industry and will share some really interesting thoughts and insights with us at this year’s AVEA Conference. We have received a very positive response from members and industry colleagues to the conference and I am very confident that it will be a day which will bring rich insights to all.”

AVEA was established to provide a strong voice for this sector among Ireland’s broader tourism industry, as well as a forum for the exchange of advice, knowledge and information, and aims to professionalise the sector and promote the development of core skills and competencies. Membership is open to all visitor attractions and experiences ranging from gardens and galleries to museums and monastic sites.

For more information see avea.ie.