ITAA CEO claims Ireland's regional airports 'are being decimated'

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An increase in the capacity of Ireland’s regional airports must be a priority for the next government, the Irish Travel Agents Association has said.

ITAA chief executive, Pat Dawson, said Ireland’s travel agents and tour operators wanted to see more air connectivity from the airports outside the capital.

“When you consider that Dublin Airport has 87% of the capacity; proportionately, that has to be corrected,” said Mr Dawson.

“35m people are flying out of Dublin Airport, compared to 2.7m out of Cork.”

Mr Dawson, who was speaking at the Holiday World Show at the RDS in Dublin which runs until Sunday, said air connectivity had a huge impact on tourism.

“We need more connectivity out of our smaller airports both for business and economic reasons. The regions are being decimated,” he said.

Over 2,000 travel experts from over 55 countries will be at the show to help visitors plan a holiday and take advantage of special offers and deals.

Mr Dawson said 64 travel agents and tour operators who are members of the ITAA had stands at the show.

“So far this year travel agents have reported an 11% increase in sales. We feel very positive about 2020,” said Mr Dawson.

The show, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, will have many prizes on offer throughout the three-day event.

Over 1,000 exhibitors from all corners of the world will be offering safaris in Africa, cruises along the Caribbean, the culinary delights of Asia and everything in-between.

For those planning their dream destination for their wedding and honeymoon help is at hand to plan that intimate getaway or larger family celebration.

Top wedding destinations exhibiting at the show include Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Cuba and The Bahamas.

Popular all year round now is the tiny Mediterranean island of Malta that is less than the size of Co Louth.

Portugal with its medieval castles, cobblestoned villages and golden beaches, is also fast becoming a favourite wedding destination for couples.

Austria is an increasingly popular wedding destination. Venue options include castles, churches and even a little chapel in the heart of a salt mine.

New exhibitors from South America, Argentina, Columbia and Peru will be hoping to entice people to go further afield for a holiday with a difference.

There is also an international line up of adventure holiday experts to satisfy those with a more adventurous spirit.