THERE will be an increase in the number of package holidays on offer to Irish holidaymakers this summer for the first time in years.
The Irish Tour Operators Federation (ITOF) said there would be a 10pc increase in capacity for package holidays this year due to a recovery in consumer demand.
The number of packaged holidays will rise from 350,000 to 380,000, said ITOF spokesman Flan Clune.
"It's down to a slight increase in disposable income, as well as a greater interest in all-in packages where you know all your costs in advance, as well as the desire for the security of a bonded operator in case something goes wrong," he said.
While the prolonged heatwave did hit demand last summer, meaning there were a lot of good last-minute offers, Irish people knew from experience not to count on a repeat of such good weather, said Mr Clune.
Good weather hit demand for scheduled flights out of Ireland last summer, but Ryanair said that it expected strong growth in passenger numbers this year.
"We have announced 20 new routes to and from Ireland following the scrapping of the travel tax and will carry an additional one million passengers through Irish airports this summer," said spokesman Robin Kiely. The new routes include flights from Dublin to Marrakesh in Morrocco and Khania in Greece as well as Comiso in Sicily. John Devereux of American Holidays said that there was continued growth in flight capacity to the United States, and the best prices were available this month -- with seats typically €50-€60 cheaper than normal.
"Families always need to travel in July and August, so the best value for those flights is always early in the year," he said. American Holidays has a range of family holidays such as a week in Orlando in June from €589 per person.
For those limited to travelling during the primary school holidays it's offering a week in Orlando in July for €854 per person for a two-week stay for €925. Falcon, which specialises in sun holidays in Europe is offering free upgrades for bookings made before January 31.
It said these upgrades for things like full board, B&B or a sea view were worth around €60 per person per week.
Eurocamp which recently took over Keycamp, a popular option for families seeking camping holidays in Europe, is currently offering 20pc off summer bookings.
This means, for example, that a week in a two-bed mobile home in Brittany in July can be had for €761, down from €951. For a larger three-bed mobile, the saving would be more than €200, bringing the price down to €811 for a one-week stay.