Aviation numbers take off in 2016

Road Warrior: incoming conference business could be worth €330m

Last year was a strong one for aviation with air travel up by 6 per cent, well ahead of the 10-year average of 5.5 per cent. Capacity rose by 6.2 per cent and pushed up load factors marginally to a full-year average of 80.5 per cent. Demand in December was very strong with an 88 per cent rise in demand outstripping capacity growth of 6.6 per cent.

“Air travel was a good news story in 2016,” said Alexandre de Juniac, International Air Transport Association (IATA) director general and chief executive. “Connectivity increased with the establishment of more than 700 new routes and a $44 (€41) fall in average fares helped to make air travel even more accessible.” Last year, some 3.7 billion passengers flew and demand is still expanding.

Conference business

Fáilte Ireland has identified a potential €330 million spend by the international corporate, incentive and association conference sector. Plans for meetings, conferences and events were discussed in Dublin on Wednesday at the Society for Incentive Travel Executives travel summit. Business tourists spend on average €1,643 on visits to Ireland – more than double the spend by leisure visitors. The tourism agency will be rolling out financial support to the industry during 2017. This will mostly be directed at destination management companies to enable them enhance their offering when bringing incentive programmes to Ireland. The recently established Event Ireland, which focuses on large-scale international sporting and cultural events, had a good 2016. They supported 16 events which generated more than 100,000 bed-nights and €17 million to the economy. Many took place outside Dublin.