HomeTravel NewsChristmas markets suffer as Irish visitors opt for alternatives

Christmas markets suffer as Irish visitors opt for alternatives

Less than a tenth of the typical number of Irish visitors to Christmas markets in Europe have travelled this year, according to the president of the Irish Travel Agents Association (ITAA).

In a report on extra.ie, ITAA president Paul Hackett said that in a typical year between 40,000 and 50,000 Irish would travel to visit the Christmas markets in destinations such as Berlin, Budapest, Krakow and Prague.

“Small numbers of people booked, and it was because they kind of could sense themselves that – we weren’t promoting it as a product because it wasn’t 100% confirmed,” Mr Hackett said.

“The travel industry didn’t promote it much this year, because the destinations were saying ‘We hope it’s going to go ahead, but we’re not sure.'”

Since 2010 airlines have been putting on a greater number of flights to account for the increased interest in Christmas market travel.

“I would say it was almost doubling year-on-year because you go and it’s a lovely product, it’s a very affordable break,” he added.

“Generally in the low €200s for flights and accommodation. Listen, you turn up, it’s three nights, the Christmas markets have gorgeous food, some nice drink, a lovely atmosphere. They get the snow we don’t get, and it’s a great product.”

This year, Mr Hackett reckoned less than 5,000 people travelled abroad for Christmas markets due to the ongoing uncertainty around Covid-19 restrictions.

Winter sun and ski

However, it wasn’t all bad news: travellers who weren’t going to Christmas markets were instead opting for winter sun breaks and ski holidays.

“There’s quite an amount of stuff that us very well sold … Christmas markets [have] kind of been a casualty,” he said, adding that travel agents expected demand in 2022 to be around 70-80% of 2019 levels.


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