A slow rollout of vaccinations and lingering consumer fears surrounding Covid-19 are hitting travel recovery in Ireland.

Increases in 2021 bookings have been “minimal” so far, according to the Irish Travel Agents Association (ITAA)

Higher levels of vaccinations are needed before a safe return to international travel will be viable, the 100-member association believes. 

The majority of bookings are coming from people rescheduling trips which were due to take place in 2020 but were disrupted by the outbreak of the pandemic.

Most bookings are being made for the latter part of 2021.

But many agents are apprehensive to proceed with bookings without certainty to protect customers and avoid last minute cancellations and disruptions as seen in 2020. 

ITAA chief executive Pat Dawson said: “So far there has been a trickle of bookings from September onwards, but no great numbers to any particular destination.

“In addition to this, younger people probably won’t receive the vaccine until sometime in late summer, which has certainly had an effect on bookings.

“We expect that bookings won’t really kick off until greater numbers of the population have received the vaccine, and a quicker vaccine rollout would enable a safe return to travel in time for summer 2021.”

He added: “We are urging customers to book with Irish-based travel agents, and to carefully read all terms and conditions before making a booking, as different airlines have different policies surrounding flight disruptions and cancellations.

“This is still a fluid situation, with guidelines changing on a daily basis from country to country.”