Kildare holiday makers hold off on travel plans - but agents hopeful

Waiting game: Kildare agents believe there is light at end of tunnel

Niamh O'Donoghue

Reporter:

Niamh O'Donoghue

Email:

news@leinsterleader.ie

Kildare holiday makers hold off on travel plans - but agents hopeful

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The thought of a summer holiday is one of the few aspirations keeping our pandemic-weary nation afloat.

However, people are still putting off making a booking due to fears over the current high Covid-19 numbers as they await the roll out of the vaccine to the wider population.

That's according to Catherine Myler, manager of Newbridge Travel.

She explained that back in October/November, when case numbers were low, she thought they might have people booking their summer holidays in January. However, with the rise in case numbers after Christmas, that hasn’t happened.

“There is definitely a light at the end of the tunnel. The vaccine is being distributed and people are eager to go on holiday. We would hope that as things improve, we would have people making enquiries during the summer for holidays in September, October and November,” she said.

She explained there was no confidence in the industry at present because of these factors and people were understandably cautious.

She said there were some people who were travelling abroad but they were people who could afford to stay off work to self isolate for two weeks, and fork out for the PCP Covid test. She said each country has its own regulations and the situation was extremely fluid with rules changing all the time.

“If you are a family of four — two adults and two children — tests for the whole family would cost €500 before you go and another €500 when you come back. That’s €1,000 before you spend money on anything else,” she said. However, Catherine is very optimistic about the future once case numbers start to drop and more people are vaccinated.

“People will want to go on holiday, there is a huge pent up demand and when that happens, we are here and waiting for those enquiries.”

Meanwhile, The Irish Travel Agents Association (ITAA) is calling on the Government to support the industry in the aftermath of the pandemic. It has been seeking to meet Ministers Hildegarde Naughton and Eamon Ryan to discuss supports needed for travel agents in the coming months. ITAA CEO Pat Dawson stated, ““Our number one priority has always been the health and safety of our customers, our staff and our communities. We want to be responsible, follow medical advice and work with Government to save lives, but we also need to preserve our businesses so that we can resume operations when it is safe to do so. We are calling on the Government to make a clear decision on this, so that we can begin to rebuild our industry.”