Long haul destinations have risen by 25% in popularity over the past year, with travel specialists Travel Counsellors today reporting USA as the top long haul spot booked in January. The rise is led by more affordable long haul air travel and the surge in cost of European holidays due to increased demand.
General Manager of Travel Counsellors Ireland, Cathy Burke said: “Throughout 2017 we witnessed the appetite for long haul holidays grow due to a boost in consumer confidence. This was cemented last month with a rise in those choosing to head further afield for their big holiday this year.
“As some European destinations have risen in price this year, due to demand, it’s very comparable in cost to travel long haul, particularly as a family, either westbound to the USA and Mexico or eastbound to Thailand. With the USA, the extra capacity on transatlantic routes is driving up availability and driving prices down. The world is much more accessible now, and for the adventurous traveller, there are fantastic opportunities to travel and explore.”
Long haul destinations included in Travel Counsellors’ top 10 list for January 2018 saw the USA in first position, the same spot as last year, with Mexico in second place, followed by Thailand, United Arab Emirates and Canada. Travel Counsellors’ busiest day for bookings was Friday, 19 January.
Cathy added: “We also saw the likes of Canada, Iceland, Mauritius, Dominican Republic and South Africa making their way onto the top 20 list. It’s great to see destinations such as Mauritius featured, and this year will be a big one for the island with lots of events as they celebrate 50 years of independence.”
Interest in cruises has also increased, with Travel Counsellors witnessing a record high in bookings, up 30%. This is in part due to Celebrity Cruises becoming the first major cruise line to homeport a ship in Dublin, with Celebrity Eclipse arriving in April 2018, along with an increase in expedition cruises to off-the-grid destinations such as Alaska and the Galápagos Islands.
On the top European destinations list, Spain took top position followed by Portugal, France and Italy.
“While we are witnessing a definite appetite in Europe for family holidays, the increased demand has sent prices soaring,” said Cathy.
She added: “January is the month that many people book their annual holidays, as people wind down after Christmas and are seeking a bit of sunshine. There was a big surge in bookings this year and it’s a promising indication that people are looking optimistically towards 2018 and that perfect summer getaway.”