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Wanderlust Families booking 2021 holidays with high demand for Lapland trips, travel boss says

Ms Airey said the travel industry was "absolutely decimated" by the pandemic, and that agents couldn't close their doors and "press pause" on their businesses, rather they had to help customers with bookings and refunds.

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Swedish Lapland

Swedish Lapland

Swedish Lapland

Optimistic families are already planning the great escape as coronavirus pandemic restrictions are lifted with bookings to the Christmas holiday destination of Lapland already proving "really popular". 

According to one travel agent, Tanya Airey, Executive Chairperson at Sunway Holidays, in terms of bookings for 2021, they are getting a “trickle of sun holidays but Lapland is really, really popular”.

She said people want something to look forward to after almost a year of travel restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic.

Ms Airey told Down to Business with Bobby Kerr on Newstalk that while there is light at the end of the tunnel thanks to the vaccine rollout, cheaper and faster testing needs to be made available at airports.

She added that the advice needs to be less complicated so people can clearly understand the guidelines if they intend to travel.

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A Covid-19 test is carried out at Dublin Airport (Brian Lawless/PA)

A Covid-19 test is carried out at Dublin Airport (Brian Lawless/PA)

A Covid-19 test is carried out at Dublin Airport (Brian Lawless/PA)

Ms Airey said the travel industry was "absolutely decimated" by the pandemic, and that agents couldn't close their doors and "press pause" on their businesses, rather they had to help customers with bookings and refunds.

"I think people have the confidence because they're not flying until December and people want something special to look forward to, particularly after the horrible year we've all had."

Martin Skelly, Managing Director and Owner of Navan Travel, said he is hopeful and "confident" that pent-up demand will lead to an upswing for the industry.

"We're looking forward to our situation changing," he said.

"We won't see an immediate recovery, probably it's going to be mid-summer before there's any significant numbers of people travelling.

"When we'll start booking, it's a little bit debatable but it's probably a few months away because we need a lot of consumer confidence.

Mr Skelly added that he and others in the industry want to see the rollout of pre-departure Covid-19 testing at airports.

Travel agents say the sector has been "decimated", with a 90-95% decrease in business reported consistently since March.

However, they are welcoming the fact all travellers to Ireland now need to test negative for Covid-19 to be allowed into the country.

From today, people from all countries need to produce a negative PCR test which is no more than three days old.

The rule only applied to Britain and South Africa until now, but it has been extended due to the extent of the crisis.

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