A world of travel opens up for those keen to break away without breaking bank
With thousands of people visiting the Holiday World Show at Belfast’s King’s Hall complex this weekend, Amanda Poole has a look at what’s hot for 2013
Now is the time to shake off the January blues, forget the grey skies and book a holiday.
You work hard and deserve a break, so if you’re dreaming of sandy beaches, stunning views or an activity break, the Holiday World Show experts are on hand to help.
The annual event is under way at the King’s Hall in south Belfast until tomorrow and features hundreds of travel industry professionals from all over the globe.
Their aim is to ensure you get the best value holiday, in the right destination, at the right time.
On show are holidays of every kind and for every type of holidaymaker, from families looking for a fun-filled break with activities built in, to couples wanting some romance and privacy, to singletons perhaps looking for company.
Almost every destination under the sun has a presence at the show.
Visitors are also in with the chance of winning trips of a lifetime, plus there are lots of show-only deals.
Steve Heapy, chief executive of Jet2.com and Jet2holidays, told the Belfast Telegraph that its ‘What’s Hot’ travel trends report — which encapsulates booking data and consumer research — indicates an exciting year for the travel industry.
“Interestingly, the report highlights that 40% more consumers will look to jet off on their holidays compared to last year,” he said.
“Classic tried and tested destinations, such as mainland Spain, the Balearics and the Canaries are still incredibly popular with our loyal customers, and we believe 2013 will be the year of discovery for many holidaymakers.
“We’re seeing a real growth in emerging destinations such as Croatia and Montenegro, as consumers look to explore a new holiday hotspot in 2013.”
Meanwhile, Joanne Holmes from American Holidays in Belfast said “one big holiday” seems to be the preferred choice for many consumers this year given the current economic downturn as people simply can’t afford more than one break.
“New York is popular year after year,” Joanne said.
“Florida is also a top seller of ours, as families enjoy this type of holiday.
“Honeymooners are booking trips to the West Coast of America and Cancun in Mexico, and other couples and singles like to take in destinations such as Las Vegas.
“Cruises and escorted coach tours are very popular with our mature clients, as everything is planned, which makes it easy to relax.
“Airlines have lots of sale fares at the moment, so there are great deals out there for trips to the States.”
Here’s 10 ideas covering a wide range of budgets, interests and tastes to get you in the holiday mood:
1 Book a trip to the US city that never sleeps. There’s so much to do in New York it can be hard to know where to start. Check out the Statue of Liberty, Central Park and the view from the Rockefeller Center.
2 Join the thousands of people sailing the seas. Cruise to traditional destinations like the Mediterranean, Scandinavia and the Americas, or try the Far East which is proving popular with holidaymakers.
3 Pay a visit to the ‘Legenderry’ north west (top right). Derry-Londonderry is the inaugural UK City of Culture and has more than 140 events planned, including plays, festivals, music, dance and sports. It is one of the oldest inhabited places anywhere in Ireland and is rich with historic sites as well as the latest landmarks like the Peace Bridge, spanning the Foyle across to Ebrington barracks.
4 Malta and Italy have become a big hit with couples wanting to tie the knot away from home. Travel agents can cater for all wedding party needs and offer hints, tips and help with paperwork for that big day.
5 Carry on camping. Check out caravans, motorhomes, and ‘glamping’. Whether you want to go to Donegal, Scotland, or France the options are endless. Try activities like hiking, fishing and surfing.
6 Krakow in Poland is emerging as a popular destination, particularly for short breaks. From historical sights to stunning architecture you will be sure to have a great time.
7 Explore the majestic continent of Africa. From touring to amazing safari holidays, this country has it all. There’s lots to do and see in Morocco, Cape Verde, Gambia, Kenya and Tunisia.
8 Book a barge or cabin cruiser and explore inland waterway systems. Those managed by Waterways Ireland include Shannon Erne, Grand Canal, Lower Bann and Royal Canal.
9 Get a vitamin D boost and recharge your batteries on the sun-drenched island of Cyprus or find out why Turkey remains a firm favourite with holidaymakers (check out our competition on Page 13 for a fives-star holiday in bustling Istanbul).
10 Ulsterbus coach tours include visits to horse shows, garden and country living shows and other festive events. Head on an English seaside holiday or take a tour of the Italian lakes. Just step aboard and let the driver do all the hard work!