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Travel agents report 'trickle' in sun holiday bookings but Lapland proving 'really popular'

The Christmas holiday destination of Lapland is already proving "really popular" in terms of trip...
Marita Moloney
Marita Moloney

12.27 16 Jan 2021


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Travel agents report 'trickle'...

Travel agents report 'trickle' in sun holiday bookings but Lapland proving 'really popular'

Marita Moloney
Marita Moloney

12.27 16 Jan 2021


Share this article


The Christmas holiday destination of Lapland is already proving "really popular" in terms of trip bookings for 2021, according to one travel agent.

Tanya Airey, Executive Chairperson at Sunway Holidays, said people want something to look forward to after almost a year of travel restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic.

Travel agents say the sector has been "decimated", with a 90-95% decrease in business reported consistently since March.

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However, they are welcoming the fact all travellers to Ireland now need to test negative for COVID-19 to be allowed into the country.

From today, people from all countries need to produce a negative PCR test which is no more than three days old.

The rule only applied to Britain and South Africa until now, but it hs been extended due to the extent of the crisis.

Ms Airey told Down to Business with Bobby Kerr that while there is light at the end of the tunnel thanks to the vaccine rollout, in the meantime, cheaper and faster testing needs to be made available at airports.

She added that the advice needs to be less complicated so people can clearly understand the guidelines if they intend to travel.

Ms Airey said the travel industry was "absolutely decimated" by the pandemic, and that agents couldn't close their doors and "press pause" on their businesses, rather they had to help customers with bookings and refunds.

In terms of bookings for 2021, she stated: "We're just getting a trickle of sun holidays but Lapland is really, really popular.

"I think people have the confidence because they're not flying until December and people want something special to look forward to, particularly after the horrible year we've all had."

Travel agents report 'trickle' in sun holiday bookings but Lapland proving 'really popular'

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On the same programme, Martin Skelly, Managing Director and Owner of Navan Travel, said he is hopeful and "confident" that pent-up demand will lead to an upswing for the industry.

"We're looking forward to our situation changing," he said.

"We won't see an immediate recovery, probably it's going to be mid-summer before there's any significant numbers of people travelling.

"When we'll start booking, it's a little bit debatable but it's probably a few months away because we need a lot of consumer confidence.

Mr Skelly added that he and others in the industry want to see the rollout of pre-departure COVID-19 testing at airports.

It follows similar calls from Paul Hackett, CEO of Click and Go, who said last week that "people are nervous about people travelling into the country and we need to address that", with the best way to do this is through pre-departure testing.

Speaking today, he said the state of the industry "couldn't be any worse".

"We're looking at a possible four, five, six months in 2021 trading at that level, so it is really difficult," he added.

"In my view, testing is better than no testing and we've had no testing.

"We have been calling for pre-departure airport testing and if we had that in place, we may not be where we are now and we would avoid the worry that exists in the consumer that isn't interested at travelling at present but is worried about consumers coming in."

Main image: File photo. Credit: PA

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