73% of Irish people making travel plans for 2021

Holiday bookers warned to check small print amid continuing Covid uncertainty

Competition and Consumer Protection Commission research suggests  24 per cent of people have booked a holiday, with people aged  45-54 most likely to have made bookings.  Of this cohort, 6 per cent said they had booked a foreign holiday. Photograph: Alan Betson

Competition and Consumer Protection Commission research suggests 24 per cent of people have booked a holiday, with people aged 45-54 most likely to have made bookings. Of this cohort, 6 per cent said they had booked a foreign holiday. Photograph: Alan Betson

 

A growing number of Irish people have holidays on their minds, with almost two-thirds planning a staycation this summer and one in five optimistic they will be able to take an overseas break before the end of the year.

However, the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) warned people considering making bookings to be certain of their rights when it comes to cancellation and refunds, pointing out that almost half of Irish people had to cancel plans last year, with one in 10 losing money as a result.

According to research published by the CCPC on Tuesday, 73 per cent of people are making travel plans, with staycation holidays still by far the most popular option.

The research suggests that 24 per cent of people have already booked a holiday for the months ahead, with people aged between 45 and 54 most likely to have made bookings.

Of this cohort, 18 per cent said they had already booked a staycation, while 6 per cent said they had already booked a foreign holiday.

Know your rights

The CCPC said that while there was “much to be optimistic about over the coming months, the uncertainty of the Covid-19 pandemic remains”.

It has cautioned people considering making bookings to know their rights when it comes to refunds and cancellations, and to request as much information as possible about their booking before they make any payment.

According to the CCPC, 42 per cent of consumers cancelled travel plans in 2020 due to the pandemic, with just over 10 per cent of consumers losing money as a result.

Consumers are advised to read and make sure they fully understand the terms and conditions of their booking before making any payment. In the current environment, it is particularly important that consumers are familiar with the cancellation policy and book only when happy with what they are agreeing to.

Package holidays

Among consumers who have already booked – or are planning to book – holidays abroad this year, 81 per cent said they preferred to build a “DIY holiday”, where they book each element of their trip themselves. This is compared with 20 per cent of consumers who prefer a package holiday option, rising to 31 per cent among the over-65s.

The CCPC said people needed to remember that their rights and protections are different, depending on what type of holiday they book. Where a consumer books a package holiday they are protected by package-holiday legislation and have stronger rights.

However, when a consumer chooses to book a holiday directly, in most cases their rights will depend on what is set out in the terms and conditions of their individual bookings.

The CCPC director of communications, Grainne Griffin, said there was “reason to be optimistic about the planned reopening of Irish society over the coming months”. However , she stressed: “The reality is that when it comes to holidays, the uncertainty of the Covid-19 pandemic looks set to remain for some time. It is essential that consumers know their rights and check the cancellation policy before they book a holiday or make any form of payment.”

The research was carried out on behalf of the CCPC by Ipsos MRBI among a nationally representative sample of 1,000 adults.