The USA is the top long-haul destination for last-minute bookings according to Travel Counsellors Ireland. The top five destinations for late bookings with TCI this summer — all made within the past 10 weeks — also include Australia, Canada, Maldives and Thailand. Bookings are up 6% on last year, made within six months of travel, up to 31 October.
Cathy Burke, General Manager, Travel Counsellors Ireland, said: “A disappointing start to the Irish summer has seen a 6% increase in last-minute bookings of long-haul travel, which traditionally would be booked over a year in advance. As a nation, we are travelling further and further afield and families in particular are more adventurous and are booking more long-haul flights. Really, there isn’t a huge difference in price when booking long-haul travel in summer compared to staying in Europe.
“USA’s top spot isn’t surprising as holiday-makers take advantage of the flexibility and favourable rates that the USA has to offer. Travelling into one state and out of another, with a road trip such as the Pacific Highway from San Francisco to Los Angeles in between taking in the sights, is proving very popular.
“Going eastbound is also good value as the low prices of food and accommodation in destinations such as Thailand make the overall cost a lot more manageable. In Thailand, Koh Samui is very popular, while in the Maldives, particularly the Kuramathi Resort, is a beautiful spot that everyone is talking about.”
In the top five last-minute European bookings, Spain is the most popular destination, followed by Portugal, Italy, Greece and Croatia. Cathy added: “Although you might find a last-minute bargain flight to certain European airports, be warned as you may be hard pressed finding affordable accommodation in the late market.”
Travel Counsellors also revealed its top 10 list of long-haul bookings since November 2018, with USA firmly in pole position, followed by Mexico, Australia, United Arab Emirates, South Africa, Maldives, Canada, Japan, Thailand and Mauritius.
Cruise holidays have also seen a huge rise in demand, with an increase of 38% in bookings when compared to the same period in 2018.