Friday, March 15 10:52:46
Four percent more Irish people travelled abroad for their holidays last year and this should grow by another 3pc this year, delegates at the Irish Travel Agents Association (ITAA) AGM heard today.
The event heard from speakers that examined areas of employment in travel, trends for 2013 and what holiday makers are looking for in the current market. Industry leaders discussed how the travel and tourism industry expected to continue to increase from 2012, with travel up 4pc in that year and further growth of up to 3pc expected in 2013.
Speaking at the event, President of the ITAA Clare Dunne said "There has been moderate but steady growth in the industry and this provides confirmation that despite all of the economic problems and crises - people still want, and are willing to travel."
Despite the recession, 71pc of people travelling are still doing so for holidays; business travel still holds a steady percentage of the market with 16pc travelling for work; while the effect of the effect of the economic downturn on emigration is clear with 13pc of people travelling to visit friends and family abroad.
The ITAA has seen an increase in holidaymakers looking for a more 'authentic' break, including adventure experiences and travel breaks that benefit local communities. The ITAA AGM heard that consumers are also not afraid to travel for better value medical care with 9.4 million trips in 2011 in Europe for surgery, cosmetic, health and dental treatments. There is huge opportunity in the tourism market for organisations and countries that can cater to people with disabilities, with disabled tourism worth over £2 billion to the UK market in particular. Travel agents have also seen the effect of new technologies including social media on the industry, with holidaymakers using experiences shared online to inform their choices.