Web Summit considers relocating conference from Dublin

WEB WIZARD: Event organiser Paddy Cosgrave at the Web Summit

Adrian Weckler

The organisers of Dublin’s Web Summit have signalled that they may move the conference to another European city after Portugal’s deputy Prime Minister, Paolo Portas, said his country was in talks to relocate the conference to Lisbon next year.

Mr Portas said that the Portugese government had been “applying” for Lisbon to replace Dublin “since March”.

And Portugal’s economics minister, Leonardo Mathias, told Portugal’s Publico newspaper that the matter is expected to be decided on by the end of September.

A spokesman for the Web Summit, which is expected to attract over 20,000 attendees to the RDS event this year, confirmed that the company was looking around for replacement venues in 2016.

“It is not news that we are exploring all our options for the location for Web Summit in 2016, including remaining in Dublin,” said a spokesman for the Web Summit. “No decisions have been made.”

Other bids from the Netherlands and the UK are also understood to have been made.

Issues involved with relocating out of Ireland are understood to include a lack of competitive state funding assistance and unreliable hotel infrastructure. Last year’s Web Summit saw Dublin hotels raising prices up to 600pc to cash in on tech visitors stuck for accommodation.

And organisers are understood to believe that state resourcing for the Web Summit falls short in funding compared to other conferencing events held in Ireland and abroad.

The Web Summit, which employs over 100 people here, has become one of Europe’s top tech conferences, giving Dublin’s tech ecosystem a boost internationally.

Co-founders Paddy Cosgrave, Daire Hickey and David Kelly have expanded the company’s events roster this year to include conferences in Las Vegas, Hong Kong and Belfast, while events in New Orleans and India are scheduled for 2016.

The organisers claim that its conferences will attract more than 50,000 attendees this year.