Tanzania, the Maldives and Hong Kong have been revealed as the top three fastest growing tourist destinations booked with Ireland’s largest independent travel specialists, Travel Counsellors.

Since last November, bookings for the east African country of Tanzania have risen by 399%; the Indian Ocean archipelago, the Maldives by 196%; and Hong Kong by 135%.

Long haul destinations in general are also up across the board, with Travel Counsellors today reporting that bookings for winter 2018/2019 have increased by 26%. Summer 2019 long haul is also up, rising by 345% when compared to the same booking period last year.

General Manager of Travel Counsellors Ireland, Cathy Burke said: “The strength of long haul travel is continuing, and this is being led by greater direct access options, better value, and the rising cost of holidaying in Europe. For these reasons, bookings in the past nine months for next summer have tripled when compared to the same period last year.

“As it has done in the past few years, the USA is topping our long haul booking list for the coming year, and is up 30%. This is followed by Mexico (up 36%); Australia (up 14%); United Arab Emirates (up 53%); and South Africa (up 22%). What is also interesting to see is the emerging travel destinations now making their way onto the must-do lists of Irish holiday makers in the coming 12 months.”

Cathy explained the rise of interest in Tanzania is due to its top safari parks inland, combined with the beaches of Zanzibar. “The safari options offer an authentic unspoilt experience, so people are going now before it gets too popular. There are also some memorable accommodation options now available like The Bush Rover Suites, which are full working Land Rovers that, once in-situ, fold out into elevated bedrooms with balconies,” she said.

Cathy added the Maldives is becoming increasingly popular with honeymooners, couples, and families. “Many of the islands offer all-inclusive so what appears to be expensive at the outset, actually is good value for money as you have little to spend when you get there,” she said.

With Hong Kong, the rise in bookings is being attributed to the non-stop flight between Dublin and Hong Kong that is now available.

“Cathay Pacific launched its four times weekly service back in June and it is proving very popular with Travel Counsellors’ clients as a gateway to China and other parts of Asia,” stated Cathy.

On the top European destinations list for bookings, Travel Counsellors reports Spain in first position, up 6% in bookings, followed by Italy, Portugal and France.

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