Holiday World: How to get the most out of Ireland's travel shows
The trick to the Holiday World Show is to work smart, not hard, says our Travel Editor - himself a veteran visitor.
The Holiday World Show is like the internet come to life… with added human beings. After melting your brain with online searches, there’s something reassuring in suddenly seeing 2017’s travel options laid out in real-life stands and pavilions.
Taking place in Belfast this weekend, the show rolls into Dublin’s RDS Simmonscourt next Friday (January 27-29), bringing with it over 1,000 travel professionals. It costs €7/4 to visit, so don’t wander mindlessly into exhaustion.
Take a look at the exhibitor list (holidayworldshow.com) and target those you most want to talk to. Trust me, the browsing bit will take care of itself.
Is it worth it? Almost always. Holiday World is a great place for advice — you can nab one-on-one guidance with tour operators and destination experts, and travel journalist Eoghan Corry runs a series of free Travel Summits on topics ranging from cruise to ski and solo holidays, providing steers that are hard to find online.
The Holiday World Show is also chocabloc with show-only deals, discounts and prize draws. In many cases, you can book on-site too.
What’s new? 2017 sees the return of Aer Lingus and the national tourist boards of Greece and Italy, as well as new exhibitors in Argentina, Japan and Botswana. The 2017 Visit USA Pavilion is the largest ever, with over 40 stands.
Elsewhere, a sprawling Home Holiday Pavilion will showcase lots of ideas for staycations Ask the Fáilte Ireland reps for a go of their new Virtual Reality headsets, giving 360-degree views of the Wild Atlantic Way. Just don’t fall over!
January has seen a notable rise in holiday budgets and demand for luxury trips, according to the Irish Travel Agents’ Association (itaa.ie).
The year in travel is well and truly underway.
The first ever Cork International Travel Fair is scheduled from February 4-5.
Taking place at the Cork International Hotel, the free event features some 40 exhibitors showcasing home and overseas holidays, and prize draws include a trip for two to New York with WOW air. The Fair is sponsored by Cork Airport, which posted an 8pc growth in passenger numbers last year.
If you fancy making a night of it, a special discounted rate of €99 B&B per room is available (quote TRAVBB when booking).
See corkinternationalairporthotel.com for details.
In 2016, The Holiday Show returned to Limerick after a nine-year hiatus. With CSO figures showing overseas trips up 6.5pc from last January to September over the same period in 2015, I wasn’t surprised to see it back in 2017.
Staged at UL Arena in association with Shannon Airport (February 18-19), the show is free to visit, promises lots of event-only deals and competitions, and exhibitors range from Aer Lingus and Ryanair, to Wendy Wu Tours (who, incidentally, are offering €300 per couple off tours booked this January).
See holidayshow.ie for details.
Read more:Six simple travel hacks that could save you hundreds on flights Where to Travel in 2017: 20 hottest tickets for the year ahead