Vulnerability of air travel and its effect on the meetings industry.

Today at the GMIC Conference in Portland Oregon, I led a fascinating panel about the business dimension of sustainability. It focused on how macro trends and issues will affect the meetings industry.

One of the panellist was Dr Ian Lee, an expert on the aviation industry from the Sprott School of Business . In the dialog Dr Lee described how the rising price of fuel will affect the airline industry. In his research, he predicts that by 2015 if fuel costs stay at the current rate there will be only 8 airlines in business in Europe. If the price of petroleum rises to $200 dollars a barrel then there will only be 5 airlines left in business. He expressed that the Industries visions of switching to biofuels are way off and that the science won’t be able to deliver any real results until 2050.

The presentation was a real eye opener. If Dr Lee’s projections happen as I expect they will, we are faced with a major shift in the way that we work and travel in the future. I am not a greeny scaremonger – but do strongly believe that destinations and all events businesses need to carefully consider their business strategies. The current business plan predicting constant growth into the next 5 or 10 years – may not actually be valid. In the not too distant future, we may be set to experience an external factor that will create a major culture shift to the way we travel and as Dr Lee suggests a return to the 1950’s style of traveling when air travel was just for the wealthy. This would have serious impacts to the meetings and tourism industries…

You can follow and participate virtually in more of these challenging types of discussions at the GMIC conference.


  1. Jill Drury says:

    Dr. Lee’s prediction for the state of the airline industry by the year 2015 is a wake-up call that needs to be heard by all stakeholders in the meetings & events industry. Dr Lee couldn’t have made it any clearer, the time for strategic alternative solutions is now!

  1. […] seen many studies and examples of the impact of travel (and here)  but fewer practical examples which outline solutions which can be replicated by event owners […]

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