Boost for holidaymakers as hot spell sparks sizzling deals
HOLIDAYmakers hoping for a last-minute deal can expect some of the best deals ever this summer as the heatwave kept thousands at home.
The hot weather that dominated much of July meant that travel agents did not experience the usual flurry of demand for last-minute holidays.
Summer holiday bookings are in fact 5pc down on last year, which is being attributed to the stretch of good weather at home.
But that means there are a host of late deals available for those who wish to jet away in August.
Last-minute deals on offer this week included a week's selfcatering in the Canaries for €374.
Bargain hunters could even avail of a return charter flight to Verona in Italy for just €18 per person today.
Kevin Nolan, chief financial officer with Topflight, said that early year bookings had been strong but the prolonged hot spell had taken its toll on last-minute trips abroad.
While advance bookings across the industry had been up 10pc on last year earlier in the season, they had now fallen off to 5pc below 2012 levels. "You always get people looking out the window at this time of year, and some of them will just not bother going abroad when it's good," said Mr Nolan.
"We're level ball with last year, but we would have hoped to be ahead given demand was strong earlier in the year."
Aer Lingus had also been running a sale for flights in August which was "highly unusual" at this time of year, Mr Nolan noted.
"They wouldn't be doing it if they didn't have seats to fill," he said.
Thomas Cook managing director John Kinane said there was good value for customers at the moment.
The western Mediterranean resorts in Portugal's Algarve and the Balearic islands, Turkey and Egypt all had good availability, he said.
While there had been unrest in Egypt, that had been in the north of the country and there hadn't been problems in the Red Sea resorts.
The number of package holidays offered to Irish holidaymakers this year had been level with last year at around 350,000, said Flan Clune of the Irish Tour Operators Federation.
Last year's bad summer and a long cold winter had resulted in strong early bookings for breaks.
"Families were particularly keen to book early as they're tied to the school holidays," he said.
Spain remained the strong favourite, with Portugal, Italy, Greece, Croatia and the Canaries also popular.
Holidaysonline.ie has details of last-minute offers from a range of operators including Sunway, Topflight and Falcon.
The latest Central Statistics Office figures show Irish people made 1,000 fewer trips abroad in the first half of the year, though the total still stood at 2.96 milion.
However, tourism business have reported strong domestic business as more people vacation at home.