June 2015

Industry Postcard

2015 shaping up to be a record year

2.2 million arrivals in the first 4 months of the year with double digit increases across the main source markets augurs well for what could be a record year for Irish tourism. Tourism is enjoying a very favourable wind this year with an improving economic climate, low oil prices, very advantageous exchange rates for US and British visitors, 9% more seats on flights into the country and all backed by aggressive marketing campaigns.

The decision by the Government to sell its stake in Aer Lingus to IAG is a welcome positive development for tourism. The deal agreed goes a long way to meeting the concerns expressed by various interest groups and has the capacity to shift Irish tourism into a different league by opening up new markets through more convenient connectivity across the globe. A recent ITIC commissioned survey of tourism business leaders found that 70% were in favour of the sale, with 20% opposed and 10% undecided in mid-April.

See Transport Updates for more details

The current indicators are all positive for continued growth in tourism which will further boost the economy and deliver jobs. However, the primary challenges facing the industry if it is to achieve sustainable growth, are in ensuring that Ireland and the tourism offering remains competitive, and that Government makes adequate provision for investment in infrastructure and destination marketing.

As always, your comments are most welcome on itic@eircom.net.

CURRENT MARKET CONDITIONS & OUTLOOK
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TRANSPORT UPDATES
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ECONOMIC UPDATES

 

 



A RECORD START TO 2015

The latest CSO data shows that the performance in the first 4 months of the year has set a new record.

An estimated 2.2 million arrivals, including day trips, for the period is up 12% on last year, representing almost a quarter of a million (250,000) additional arrivals compared to a year ago.

Source: Derived from CSO data.

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A BRIGHT FUTURE FOR AER LINGUS

The decision by the Government to sell its minority shareholding to IAG is welcomed as a major boost to tourism. ITIC has been a supporter of the bid over the past few months and looks forward to increased connectivity, expanded marketing reach and other benefits that will accrue to Aer Lingus and Ireland. An exciting new chapter for Aer Lingus will deliver benefits for tourism through the airline’s membership of International Airline Group alongside BA, Iberia and Vueling, together with the wider alliances within the OneWorld airline alliance.

The specific commitments made by IAG, to meet the concerns of the Government, airline staff and other interested parties, include:


THE HEATHROW SLOTS:
Aer Lingus will continue to operate the Heathrow slots for 7 years replicating the current summer and winter schedules on each route from Dublin, Cork and Shannon. In the last 2 years, this commitment is subject to a condition that the relevant airport charges remain at or below 2014 levels (adjusting for CPI). Other Aer Lingus slots will be operated for 5 years on routes between Heathrow and the island of Ireland.


THE AER LINGUS BRAND:
The airline will continue to operate without any change to its name and brand identity. Aer Lingus will maintain its head office and place of incorporation in the Republic of Ireland.

The benefits from the deal can be summarised as follows:


JOB CREATION:
Up to 635 new jobs at Aer Lingus by 2020, plus more indirect jobs in aviation and tourism sector from increased traffic to Ireland.


TOURISM:
Growth in routes and services, particularly on the North Atlantic, together with improved connectivity to other long haul markets through BA, Iberia and OneWorld partner airlines will boost tourism to Ireland. Ireland will be connected to almost 1,000 airports in more than 150 countries.

The deal to acquire 100% of Aer Lingus Group Plc. is based on a cash offer of €1.4bn with a payment of €2.50 per share and a dividend of €0.05 payable to shareholders. The consideration represents a premium of 40% on the closing price on December 17, 2014. Formal Offer Document will be issued within 28 days of the Government decision, with the offer subject to relevant competition approvals and the timetable governed by the Irish Takeover Rules.


ROUTE NEWS

Shannon – Birmingham:

Aer Lingus Regional, operated by Stobart Air, reinstated from mid-June, resulting in a cut back on frequency on services to Cork from Glasgow and Newcastle.

London City – Dublin:

BA is adding a sixth daily frequency, following Flybe’s withdrawal from the route.

Cardiff – Dublin:

Flybe launches new service in June with 6 departures per week, increasing from end August.

Cardiff – Cork:

Flybe’s new weekly service commences in June increasing to two departures per week in September.

Newark – Dublin:

United extends second daily departure to September 24.

Shannon – Poitiers:

Ryanair will discontinue the service effective September 02.


More Seats on Offer for WINTER 2015/16

Aer Lingus

  • More capacity and frequency on routes from New York, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco to Dublin. All other transatlantic services to/from Shannon and Dublin will operate as last winter
  • Additional capacity on services between Dublin and Amsterdam, Paris, Brussels, Zurich, and Geneva with extra flights to sun destinations at holiday times.
  • Increased capacity on routes from Manchester and Birmingham to Dublin.
  • New 16 flights per week between Dublin and Liverpool.
  • Extension of Jersey-Dublin service to year round.

Ryanair

  • Services from Dublin to Copenhagen, Lublin and Venice Treviso will operate through the winter.
  • Added frequencies on routes from Dublin to Alicante, Barcelona, Berlin, Budapest, Faro, Madrid, Tenerife, and Warsaw.
  • Shannon-Tenerife will be substituted for withdrawn Fuerteventura service.
  • Added services from Manchester and Birmingham to Dublin.
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Ireland #5 in the world for tourism marketing and branding

An accolade for Tourism Ireland as Ireland is ranked ahead of France, Britain, Germany, Spain and Italy for effectiveness of marketing and branding to attract tourists, according to the World Economic Forum’s 2015 Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index. Ireland has moved from number nine (when the index was last compiled in 2013) to number five in the world.


Ireland ranked at #19 in tourism competitiveness
Ireland comes 19th in the world, 11th in Europe, in the latest biennial report ‘Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index’ from The World Economic Forum. Ireland’s overall global ranking is unchanged from two years ago, although it has moved up one place in the European table. Ireland’s ranking across a range of factors is broadly unchanged although it would appear that price competitiveness has slipped a little. The index measures a comprehensive set of factors and policies enabling sustainable development of the travel and tourism sector across 141 countries. Each country is assessed across 14 categories including business environment, safety and security, human resources and labour market, price competitiveness, environmental sustainability, air transport, infrastructure, tourist services and natural and cultural resources.
Read more http://www.weforum.org/reports/travel-tourism-competitiveness-report-2015

Dublin Airport Grows Northern Ireland Business by 52% in 2014

The number of Northern Ireland residents using Dublin Airport increased by 52% to a record 864,000 last year. Almost half of Northern Ireland residents who used Dublin Airport last year were travelling on holiday, while business travel accounted for 8% of trips. About 36% of Northern Ireland residents used Dublin Airport to visit family or relatives last year. Three out of every five Northern Ireland residents who used Dublin Airport last year took two or more trips through the airport.

Dublin Airport also continues to be the main international gateway for visitors to Northern Ireland, as 65% of all passengers who come by air to the island of Ireland passed through Dublin Airport last year.


Dublin – the cheapest way to Europe for Americans

The falling euro and strength of the US dollar in recent months has been driving more and more Americans to book transatlantic trips to Europe. Flying to Europe via Dublin is the best deal available this summer according to Cheapflights, an online airfare seller.


Cork Airport supports over 10,000 jobs

A new study highlights the airport’s crucial economic role to the south of Ireland, despite the fall in traffic in recent years. Over 10,700 jobs are supported by Cork Airport as well as €727 million contributed to GDP according to a study commissioned by DAA from economic consultants InterVISTAS. Cork Airport directly supports 1,920 jobs at the airport, with airlines, ground transport, handling, maintenance, food and beverage, logistics companies, Government agencies and hotels. The study concludes that Cork Airport is fundamental to the growth of the local economy and has key catalytic impacts that contribute directly towards tourism, trade, investment and productivity for the whole of the region.

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An Economic Overview of the Marketplace


BRITAIN

Bank of England has cut 2015 growth forecast from 2.9% to 2.5%, while the first rate rise is not now expected until Q2 2016. Official data shows strongest pay growth in years. High street sales are “bounding ahead,” giving retailers the best outlook for 27 years due to falling prices and a boost to consumer spending power, according to new figures from the Confederation of Business Industry (CBI). Low inflation, falling prices, stable employment and good weather have all helped boost consumer spending in May.


EUROPE

The European economy is showing signs of picking up steam in the first quarter, showing growth of 0.4 percent. Yet the 19 European Union nations that use the shared euro currency are still struggling to get past a problem over too much government debt and the ongoing crisis in Greece. Unemployment remains stubbornly high at 11.3%, and at 50% for young people in Greece and Spain. The European Commission has revised upward its forecast for eurozone economic growth this year to 1.5%, from 1.3%, accelerating from the 0.9% growth posted last year.

Business confidence in the manufacturing and wholesale sectors has slipped in Germany, however consumers appear to be girding themselves to spend according to the latest confidence index from GfK, which is at its highest level since October 2001. The very robust domestic demand in Germany driven by the low rate of inflation and record low unemployment is most welcome as exports have stalled, depriving Germany of a vital economic engine. The latest data comes on the back of the country’s first quarter gross domestic product data – 0.3% – which was not only below the average for the eurozone which was 0.4%, it also trailed behind Spain and France. The French economy has grown at its fastest pace in two years, GDP up 0.6% in the first quarter, exceeding economists’ forecasts. The GDP report was characterised by strong consumer spending amid wild volatility in trade and manufacturing output.

USA

The US economy ran into some rough seas during the first quarter with GDP rising only 0.2%, well below expectations that growth would be 1%. Cold winter weather, the strong US dollar and West Coast port strike contributed to the weak economic growth as exports declined by 7% being blamed for the economic slowdown. However, a bunch of indicators suggest that a rebound is underway after a temporary setback and is reassuring American consumers. Housing starts surged 20.2% in April, marking the biggest increase since 1991 and returning activity to pre-crisis levels, with new home sales and prices on the rise. Orders of non-transportation durable goods also rose in April, marking the second consecutive month of increases following a recent slump. Overall thanks to the stronger jobs market, consumer confidence picked up in May more than economists had predicted. In addition, business investment, one of the key elements of the economy, is coming back.


THE DOMESTIC ECONOMY

Ireland’s economy is expected to grow by 4% this year and continue growing at an annual rate above or about 3% until 2020. The forecast rate of GDP growth in 2015 is down from 4.8% in 2014, however, it would still be the highest in Europe. The crucial driver here is the continued increase in domestic demand as consumers spend more and businesses invest more. This is on top of continued strength in the export sector. Irish consumers remain positive on the economy, but cautious on finances, according to the latest KBC/ESRI Consumer Sentiment Index which reports a third rise in four months.

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