Tour firms are feeling confident

Mark Evans

Irish tour operators have a sunnier outlook after years of gloom in the industry.

And major travel companies are expecting modest growth in the package holiday market, according to Kevin Nolan, President of the Irish Tour Operators Federation.

"Early indications are that bookings for summer 2011 are ahead of 2010 levels," said Mr Nolan.

He said that with the backdrop of the volcanic disruptions, DIY holidays were now on the wane, while he said Aer Lingus and Ryanair "have recently abandoned" what he called "their below-cost products".

Speaking at a travel function last night, he added: "We saw evidence from last summer's trading that Irish people have resumed booking their holiday in the traditional way."

Mr Nolan felt that families "recognise the many benefits that a package holiday delivers".

ITOF members account for 90pc of he outbound charter market and represent American Holidays, Crystal Holidays, Falcon Holidays, Panorama, Sunway, Sunworld and Topflight."