The hotel and accommodation sector is a key component of Irish tourism. A good stock of attractive high-quality hotels, operating to best international standards, is essential for the effective performance of the industry. The quality of Ireland's hotels is a key part of Ireland's national business tourism offering and instrumental in attracting international conferences to Ireland.
Business tourism overall, including conference tourism, has been an area of growth in recent years and one where Ireland continues to compete very successfully internationally. The tourism agencies, which have operational responsibility for the development and promotion of this sector, have been very active in competing for and securing the hosting of international conferences in Ireland. Fáilte Ireland is responsible for developing business tourism strategy and, internationally, it works with Tourism Ireland under the Meet in Ireland brand to support the positioning of Ireland as a world-class conference destination. The Meet in Ireland team works collaboratively with key stakeholders and through its Conference Ambassador Programme to secure high profile conferences for Ireland. It also offers training and trade supports for Irish and international businesses planning to host their conferences here.
I am very supportive of the ongoing efforts of the tourism agencies to attract international conferences to Ireland and am most encouraged by the latest statistics. In 2018 Fáilte Ireland supported and converted 385 conferences worth €204 million for current and future years. The broader business tourism sector is currently worth €760m to the Irish economy and supports 22,000 jobs and Fáilte Ireland has ambitious targets to grow that to €1 billion by 2025.