Japan and Sri Lanka are new entrants on the top 10 long haul bookings list for leading travel specialists, Travel Counsellors.

The list, released by Travel Counsellors annually, revealed that bookings in January 2019 were up 100% for Japan and 40% for Sri Lanka. The most popular long-haul destination was once again the USA, with sales up 13% on the same period last year.

Speaking on today’s announcement, General Manager of Travel Counsellors Ireland, Cathy Burke said: “While Japan didn’t feature in our top 10 list in 2018, it ranks in tenth place this year. With the 2019 Rugby World Cup being held in Japan, and the Olympic and Paralympic Games coming to Tokyo in 2020, there has been a surge in bookings. However, it’s not just sports fans enquiring, as there’s a significant number of bookings not related to these events. It’s because Japan is front of mind at the moment, everyone is talking about what a beautiful and wonderfully diverse country it is.

“With Sri Lanka, there has been a definite increase in popularity after Lonely Planetranked it the top country for travel in 2019. It really does have it all — history, culture, beaches, wildlife, weather and lovely people.”

Long haul destinations included in Travel Counsellors’ top 10 list for January 2019 has USA in first position, with Mexico in second place, followed by Australia, Mauritius, United Arab Emirates,South Africa,Canada, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and Japan. Travel Counsellors’ busiest day for bookings last month was Thursday, 31 January. Along with Japan and Sri Lanka, other destinations that saw a significant increase in bookings included Mauritius up 27%, Indonesia (25%), Dominican Republic (18%), Peru (120%) and Croatia (28%).

On the top European destinations list, Spain took pole position once again, followed by Italy, Portugal, France and Greece.

Travel Counsellors has also seen the demand in cruise holidays rise, with an increase of 39% in bookings last month, when compared to the same period in 2018.

“It’s great to see such a growing appetite for cruises among Irish customers,” explained Cathy. “This upsurge in interest is in part due to the recent launch of Celebrity Edge and MSC Bellissima as well as the direct summer sailings from Dublin with Celebrity Cruises.

“People are starting to understand the specialisation that is a cruise holiday more and more, and there is a huge mix of people, of all ages, now choosing top end ship experiences in off-the-grid destinations such as the Galapagos Islands and the Panama Canal.”

There are over 75 Travel Counsellors operating throughout Ireland, delivering bespoke travel experiences to both the leisure and corporate markets. Travel Counsellors’ global network has over 1,800 travel professionals, offering unparalleled first-hand destination knowledge and industry expertise coupled with a work ethic which revolves around genuine care for the customer. Globally, Travel Counsellors celebrated a record-breaking month in January, with a 15% rise in sales on the same period last year.

Bookings for Travel Counsellors in January 2019:

Top 10 Long Haul

  1. USA
  2. Mexico
  3. Australia
  4. Mauritius
  5. UAE
  6. South Africa
  7. Canada
  8. Sri Lanka
  9. Vietnam
  10. Japan


Top 5 Europe

  1. Spain
  2. Italy
  3. Portugal
  4. France
  5. Greece

For more stories like this sign up for our Insights newsletter ›




Put a spring in your step, and sign up below to receive our newsletter

Springboard Communications
CRO 529581