The boss of the travel agency on the resumption of travel to the United States and the most popular destinations for tourists


The CEO of the Irish Travel Agents Association expects the United States to be open “this side of September” with more people traveling across the Atlantic.

The Foreign Office has said that from March 2020, with a few exceptions, non-US nationals or permanent residents are not allowed to travel to the US if they have been in Ireland, UK , in the Schengen zone, in Iran, in Brazil, or in China during the previous 14 days.

U.S. citizens and permanent residents, certain immediate family members, and certain other limited categories of visa holders are exempt from these restrictions and may still enter the United States, subject to normal requirements.

However, in speaking with the Irish Mirror, Pat Dawson gave an overview of the routes Irish customers inquire about and book with travel agents across the country.

Unsurprisingly, countries that accept the EU’s Covid certificate are leading the way, but he is optimistic about travel to the United States.

“The biggest one is definitely Spain. For example, there are usually a million trips from Ireland every year to Spain. Portugal would be second. It all depends on where the connectivity is, where the airlines have put the capacity in. Spain and Portugal have put in place many capacities that are operational.

“Of course, there are also the Canary Islands which are part of Spain. France is the third busiest country. Now if the United States was open, which is not yet the case, but President Biden seems to have watched this and Canada has opened for Irish visitors.

“It’s a slow process, but the most important thing is to remember that the Irish have a huge family in the United States and thousands and thousands of people want to go. There is a reduction in the capacity of the companies. airlines, carriers have not renewed routes. Aer Lingus has reduced its routes like other airlines, but we probably expect the United States to be open on this side of September as it is a massive route that people are leaving Ireland and it is mainly to see family and friends. “

Despite the issues surrounding the Covid Digital Cert call center, the return of the international ravel has largely gone with minimal hassle, with holidaymakers eventually being able to travel abroad.

While it’s still early days, Mr. Dawson was encouraged by the feedback he received from clients and shared some money-saving tips for anyone interested in booking a trip overseas.

“The customers were quite happy. Many resorts in the main destinations of Spain and Portugal are quite calm now and there are two good things about that. A) The prices are very good compared to the hotels, accommodation B) It’s not as crowded as usual and from a comfort point of view the resorts are not busy – you can easily get into restaurants, bars and things like that.

“There are going to be some restrictions in place and even in some parts of Spain there are some restrictions. If you book with a travel agency what we tell everyone is to make sure and check that they have up to date information because things are changing and that is an evolving thing with this variant.

“You really need all your facts and papers in hand. The Irish are really ‘last minute people’ and they shouldn’t be like that. They should have everything organized because it’s a different experience with it. paperwork.”

With more people vaccinated, the Covid Cert issues being worked out, and airports – both in Ireland and abroad – getting used to the new systems in place, a sense of confidence is returning to the aviation industry.

However, this growing confidence will inevitably lead to an increase in vacations which, in turn, will surely lead to higher prices.

The CEO of ITAA says if someone wants to book a vacation, now is the perfect time because they expect prices to rise as demand increases.

“I think so and I can already feel it (more confidence and interest). Even now and until you book with a travel agency, I am leaving for Malaga myself next Thursday and the fare was very, very good. Normally at this time of year the round trip plane ticket is € 400 / € 500. I got a round trip for € 157. Even until 5 August the prices are very, very good.

“It’s definitely good value for money because what will happen is like everything else, airlines have based the idea that the more they fill, the more expensive they get. Anyone who is planning a trip is certain that she has her certificates and is ready to go, for the price point of view, I would do it sooner rather than later.

“I noticed, for example, if you take the October bank holiday. It is now full like all dates at Christmas and if they are not full they are very, very expensive. A flight to Malaga or the theft from the Canaries is € 500 / € 600, ”Mr Dawson said.

While this week saw an increase in the number of people passing through Dublin Airport, Mr Dawson noted that it was still not close to the normal number.

“The other thing that drives them (cheaper prices) is that the capacity just isn’t there. If you take Dublin Airport right now they have about 22,000 a day flying – which has improved dramatically over the last 10 days. But normally it was over 100,000, 120,000 per day. The capacity is not there too. If the capacity is lower, the price is going to be higher. ” “

With so many weeks of the traditional summer season lost for the aviation industry, Dawson is optimistic the next few weeks will go smoothly. However, he expects an increase in the number of people traveling after July as “most of our inquiries and reservations are made from August, more in mid-August, as well as for September-October”.

He says: “Interest has definitely increased and I did some stats yesterday where I contacted about 10 members – one particular member of a large company saw their survey levels increase by 30%, others were slightly around 15% to 16% on People traveling now are people who have probably booked since last year or the previous year. They have moved forward with their old bookings and it would not be no new bookings as such, they would have been old bookings.

“We advised people to wait and see. Let July 19 happen because it’s going to be bumpy for a week or two, it always does when new rules are introduced. Our members are all saying:” let’s wait and see, things get better, the authorities get started and the airports get used to the new rules. Most of our inquiries and reservations are from August – no longer in mid-August – and also for September-October. Hopefully this will also apply for the rest of July. “

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