Monday 25 September 2017

Irish visits to Canaries surge as terror changes holiday landscape

Costa del Crowded

Papagayo beach, Lanzarote
Papagayo beach, Lanzarote
Pól Ó Conghaile

Pól Ó Conghaile

The Canary Islands are set for record visitor numbers in 2016, with Irish visits surging in the past six months.

14 million holidaymakers visited between January and June of this year, according to the Canary Islands Statistics Institute (ISTAC) - a rise of 740,000 on 2015.

238,000 Irish have visited in the first six months of 2016 alone, a rise of 8pc as alternatives like Egypt, Tunisia and Turkey flounder due to terror attacks.

Terrorism appears to be impacting tourism figures in France too, where hotel occupancy rates in Paris halved this July, according to the country's tourism ministry.

Irish trips to destinations perceived as safe, however, are booming.

According to the latest CSO Household Travel Survey, Irish residents took over 1.5 million overseas trips in the first quarter of 2016, up 12.8pc on last year.

What's more, they spent a cool €1.2 billion in the process.

"Spain remains a top choice for Irish people due to its excellent tourist facilities, year-round sunshine and fantastic cultural attractions," says Cormac Meehan, President of the Irish Travel Agents' Association (ITAA).

"This year, it also offers a safe and secure destination following months of unrest throughout Europe and beyond."

One downside to the boom in Spanish holidays, of course, has been a rise in crowds and prices - with few late deals available on package breaks.

For savvy travellers, autumn and winter may make a better bet.

As school returns, and with air capacity to the Canaries set to jump by some 17pc this winter, bargain hunters may yet get the vitamin D they crave.

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