The 10 most popular long-haul vacation destinations for Irish people in 2020 1 month ago

The 10 most popular long-haul vacation destinations for Irish people in 2020

Planning your next holiday?

Despite only being a few short weeks into 2020, we'll readily admit it: we're already dreaming of our next holiday.

Especially with the way the weather's been lately.

Earlier this week, Travel Counsellors released their annual Top 10 List of Long and Short Haul Bookings in January.

And considering the fact that January felt like it was never going to end, it's not surprising to hear that the company's busiest day for bookings was January 31.

What better way to banish the January blues?

Adventure tourism was the biggest trend for those booking holidays in January 2020, replacing the traditional 'fly and flop' trip according to the leading premium travel specialists.

A rise in the popularity of soft adventure - like trekking, safari, skiing and surfing -  saw January travel bookings to South Africa and New Zealand more than double in popularity compared to the same time last year.

“Last year South Africa was in sixth place on our Top 10 List of Long Haul Bookings, this year it is third. The country was ninth in the standings in 2018, so it seems that the adventure tourism of South Africa, with its untamed wilderness and scenic beauty, has won over Irish holidaymakers," General Manager of Travel Counsellors Ireland, Cathy Burke said.

"We have requests in from people looking to zip-line over the Koekedouw River, snorkel with seahorses in the famed Knysna lagoon, and safari at Kruger National Park. South Africa really does offer a soft adventure option for people of all ages.”

She added that New Zealand was another country in which they had seen a "rapid rise" - although it didn't make the Top 10.

"It is an adventurer’s paradise with opportunities to try activities like scuba diving, hot air ballooning and rock climbing; especially in adrenaline-packed Queenstown," she continued. "It is a stunning country and New Zealand is sitting just outside our Top 10 List despite such a surge in bookings.”

The top two rankings for 2020 long-haul bookings remained unchanged on 2019 for TravelCounsellors, with the USA top of the list yet again. Mexico, with bookings up 15 per cent on the same period last year, took the number two slot.

They were followed by South Africa, Vietnam, Australia, United Arab Emirates, Indonesia, Canada, Mauritius and Thailand. The two new nations who returned to the top table after failing to make it onto last year’s list were Indonesia (up 59 per cent) and Thailand, whose bookings rose 33 per cent from 2019 figures.

Other destinations that saw a significant increase in bookings included Jamaica (up 179 per cent), Malaysia (up 127 per cent), Brazil (up 90 per ent) and Tanzania (up 62 per cent).

On the top European destinations list, Spain took first place yet again, while Italy, Portugal, Greece and newcomer Finland rounded out the remaining top five slots.

“It is clear from bookings that Christmas 2020 is already on the minds of the Irish public,” Cathy continued.. “Family bookings to Lapland — where you’ll find reindeer sleigh rides through snowy forests, cosy cabins, and of course the chance to meet Santa — for winter 2020 have been flying in and they are the sole reason Finland has made onto Europe’s top five.”

Top 10 Long Haul 

  1. USA
  2. Mexico
  3. South Africa
  4. Vietnam
  5. Australia
  6. United Arab Emirates
  7. Indonesia
  8. Canada
  9. Mauritius
  10. Thailand

Top 5 Europe

  1. Spain
  2. Italy
  3. Portugal
  4. Greece
  5. Finland