Irish holiday budgets on the rise, with Spain our top destination - survey
Sun, sea and surveys
Spain is Ireland's favourite holiday destination, followed by Portugal and Italy, a survey of Irish travel agents has revealed.
The findings were published today in a quarterly survey conducted by the Irish Travel Agents' Association (ITAA).
Customers have larger budgets in 2015, the survey also found, though they appear more cautious in their spending.
"People are expecting a lot more for their money," said Pat Dawson of the ITAA. "They want high quality accommodation and they are looking for all inclusive packages."
Irish travel to Spain has been increasing all year, with direct flight passenger figures from Ireland up by 12.7pc (nearly half a million passengers) from January to May, according to the Spanish Tourist Office in Dublin.
According to the CSO, a total of 1,344,503 Trips by Irish residents were taken to Spain 2014 - amounting to 20.1pc of total travel abroad last year.
That figure now looks set to be surpassed this year.
65pc of travel agents report no negative impact on new bookings to Greece, despite the ongoing financial turmoil and recent cash shortages in the country.
However, some agents also reported a further rise in popularity for destinations closer to home such as Portugal and Spain - due to increased wariness towards countries located close to ongoing conflicts.
The survey also found that 67pc of travel agent business comes from repeat customers, who cite service, advice and security for their choice.
"Consumers have a vast array of options when it comes to purchasing holidays," Dawson added. "But Irish customers seem to appreciate that with a travel agent their care and service won’t be managed by an algorithm”.