Irish holidaymakers are taking a ‘pause’ from booking summer holidays as the cost of living crisis hits. According to Paul Hackett, President of the Irish Travel Agents Association, up to 40 per cent fewer people booked international trips in March than in the same month of 2019.
However, those who booked this year spent an average of €689 per person – €60 more on average than the same period in 2019.
Mr Hackett says consumers are “taking stock” to see if they can afford a summer holiday after Irish households were warned their standard of living is being eroded by an average of €2,000 as a result of rising energy and food prices.
This spring should have been the best time to sell sun holidays due to pent-up demand, savings from the pandemic and a surge in flight frequency, but Mr Hackett says consumer confidence is “so fragile”.
“Consumers did not book outbound travel in March to the extent we would have expected. Every week they’ve been hit by something different from Bord Gáis or Electric Ireland or information from ESRI on expected inflation rates and that hurts confidence,” he said.
“We believe that once they figure out how much they can budget for a vacation, they consider all options and ultimately go abroad because that’s where the value is. When they get there, the cost of living is often cheaper.”
His comments come as hospitality experts warned of an “exodus” of sun-seekers to Europe’s most popular spots.
Speaking of Sunday independentAdrian Cummins, head of the Restaurants Association of Ireland, said many Irish businesses simply cannot compete with the low operating costs and staff wages in the Mediterranean.
“There’s a feeling in the industry that we’re going to see an exodus out of the country to some destinations due to the restrictions over the past two years and that will put pressure on the domestic market if the numbers don’t come in here,” Mr Cummins said.
He said there were certain factors in favor of sunnier destinations: “In the Mediterranean, their wages are half that of Ireland, as is the cost of running a business, so from a price point of view they are in a better position to compete .”
In response, Irish hospitality needs to focus on value for the coming summer.
“I don’t think there is better value abroad when you see the quality of the product is here. It’s way better than certain parts of the Mediterranean. You have to compare apples to apples,” said Mr Cummins.
A study by travel agency clickandgo.com this weekend revealed that Irish holidaymakers can save hundreds of euros when holidaying abroad – even when factoring in the cost of a return flight.
In May, a family of two adults and two children can book seven nights in a four-star self-catering hotel in the Algarve for €859 (including flights and accommodation), compared to €1,363 for seven nights in a four-star bed and breakfast hotel at Co Wexford in the same month. In July, a couple can then fly to a five-star bed and breakfast hotel in Lanzarote for €959 including flights and accommodation for seven nights, compared to seven nights in a five-star B&B hotel in Killarney for €1,503.
In August, a couple can fly to Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast for seven nights and stay in a four-star bed and breakfast hotel for €769 each, compared to a four-star bed and breakfast in Kerry for €1,015 euros per person person.
And in July, a family of two adults and two children can book seven nights in a five-star hotel in Gran Canaria on a bed and breakfast basis for €2,889 in July including flights and accommodation, compared to seven nights in a four-star B&B Hotel in Killarney for €4,385.
In recent days, the Irish Hotel Federation (IHF) has warned hundreds of its members of major challenges in terms of occupancy, rising costs and the tourism VAT rate hike planned for September.
Outgoing IHF President Elaina Fitzgerald Kane said hotel insurance costs have increased by 20 percent year over year.
https://www.independent.ie/life/travel/travel-news/revealed-how-a-week-in-the-sun-with-flights-and-accommodation-will-cost-you-less-than-a-holiday-at-home-41515180.html Revealed: How a week in the sun with flights and accommodation costs less than a holiday at home