Young Irish singletons in search of love turn to... coach tours

Young Irish singletons looking for love, friends or just travel companions are increasingly plumping for coach tours all over the globe.

Traditionally the domain of older age groups, coach tours are rapidly becoming the hip option for young singletons, with the numbers on the tours doubling year on year since global youth coach tour operator Contiki Tours set up an office here in 2010.

Founded in 1962, the company offers coach trips all around the world specifically for 18 to 35-year-olds, including sightseeing, free time, culture, socialising, and adventure.

Business manager with Uniworld Sharon Jordan, who started the Contiki operation in Ireland two years ago, said a younger demographic was increasingly looking to go on coach tours

“It’s a growth market and one that is taking off in Ireland in the past couple of years in a big way. The operation is global, but we opened the office in Ireland two years ago and it has just gone from strength to strength,” she said.

Ms Jordan said the company doesn’t only tackle traditional destinations but is also operating trips to music festivals including Coachella in California, the Octoberfest in Germany, and the Pamplona Bull Run in Spain.

“It has spread by word of mouth really. Younger people are bored, particularly in the older age bracket; they might have had friends they travelled with previously that have settled down and married. This is a way for them to travel with people their own age and meet people from all across the world,” she said.

Some 60% of the people who go on the tours are female, with 20% of those on board travelling on their own.

The Uniworld business manager said the Irish operation sells the package to travel agents, who sell it on to customers, with university and Leaving Cert students particularly keen to travel.

“At first we had to explain it to travel agents, but they found that they were getting calls from people looking for information anyway.

“These people don’t just want the usual beach holiday any more after their exams. We expect 2013 to be a bumper year,” she said.

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