Saturday 24 August 2019

Holiday spending surges to Celtic Tiger levels - but many still saving hard to buy home

(Stock photo)
(Stock photo)
Ellie Donnelly

Ellie Donnelly

Irish holidaymakers will spend around €6.5bn on trips this year - a level of expenditure not seen since the Celtic Tiger era.

A new report also reveals that as many as one in three renters are now striving to pull together a deposit to buy their own home.

The boom in vacation spending comes on the back of rising wages, as well as increasing household finances, which have largely been influenced by an upswing in the value of people's homes.

The new analysis of holiday spending was compiled in a report from the Marketing Institute of Ireland, and UCD Smurfit Business School.

According to Mary Lambkin, a marketing professor at the business school, the figures are based on a sounder footing than at the last economic peak here, reflecting a larger working population with good incomes rather than "reckless borrowing".

Last year, people spent €6bn on holidays, as personal expenditure returned to the heady levels last seen in 2007, and this year it is poised to increase once again as overseas trips are up by 7.4pc in 2019.

The UK, followed by Spain and France, remained the most popular destination for Irish holidaymakers going overseas in the first three months of this year, according to figures from the Central Statistics Office.

Incomes

The increase in holiday expenditure comes on the back of a rise in disposable household incomes, up 6pc last year to €110bn.

Higher incomes have sparked an increase in consumer spending, which grew by 3.4pc last year to a total of €105bn.

This positive spending trend is continuing so far this year, with expenditure up 2.9pc in the first three months.

The strong expenditure comes despite a fall in consumer confidence as the uncertainly caused by Brexit weighs on people's minds.

Unlike during the Celtic Tiger, credit and borrowing are not major contributory factors in recent spending, with the ratio of debt to disposable income of Irish households down to 124pc.

Meanwhile, savings deposits grew by €4bn last year, with deposits for a house estimated to be the major factor.

Just under one in three renters, and one in 10 of all Irish households, are saving for a deposit, the report says.

For those who own a home, household finances have been boosted by the increasing value of property, with household net worth per capita now standing at €158,000.

This is up 70pc from the low of 2012.

Tom Trainor, CEO of the Marketing Institute of Ireland, said: "The continuing growth in employment and income is leading to improvements in household finances and consumer spending, which continues to grow despite weakened confidence because of uncertainty over the Brexit outcome."

While Irish people may be travelling abroad more, a recent survey from Laya Healthcare has found we are still missing the taste of home.

The survey showed that 14pc of holidaymakers bring tea bags on holiday, while one in 20 are packing sausages "as an essential".

Irish Independent

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