The Irish Travel Agents Association is reporting an “unprecedented” level of enquiries as sun-hungry holidaymakers hunt for summer bargains.
After a number of difficult years for the industry, the Irish travel trade is going from strength to strength after a strong performance last year.
Chief execuitive of the association, Pat Dawson said that travel agents all around the country were reporting some of the strongest sales figures for January.
“Some Irish Travel Agents Association members have seen a sales increase of 40% so far this month, compared with last year’s figures. Many agents are reporting their best sales in seven years.
“Following a difficult few years, we are delighted to see this upturn in the travel trade,” he said.
As with previous years, Spain continues to be the most popular destination for Irish holidaymakers.
However, the association head said the spectre of terrorist attacks had led to many holidaymakers moving away from what had been traditionally popular hot spots.
“Recent terror attacks have pushed Egypt and Tunisia off the list of top destinations but they have not deterred Irish people from travelling.
“Irish holidaymakers are now turning to alternatives such as the Canary Islands which saw a large increase of bookings during the winter period.
“A large portion of the inquiries are from families, booking family holidays to Spain and Portugal. Family camping packages to France and Italy are also very popular,” he said.
Mr Dawson said the recovery in the economy was playing its part in people loosening their wallets to book holidays abroad.
“We are seeing a rise in the budgets that people have to spend on their holidays.
“However, people are expecting a lot more for their money. They want high-quality accommodation and they are looking for all-inclusive packages.
“The recession taught us all to be more cautious with our spending and travel agents are working hard to provide people with exceptional value,” he said.
The survey comes in advance of the annual Holiday World Show which takes place in the RDS in Dublin this weekend.
Potential holidaymakers will have an opportunity to meet over 1,000 travel and tourism professionals and snap up dozens of great ‘show only’ deals.