‘Let’s Talk Travel’ has become one of the most popular features of the Holiday World travel exhibition that is held at the RDS each year. At last weekend’s event, yours truly was one of the panellists asked to contribute to a session entitled ‘Holiday Trends’. The other two panellists were Paul Hackett, founder and managing director of Click & Go and Catherine Grennell-Whyte, MD of ATTS — a GSA (general sales agent) for companies such as Finnair, Flexible Autos and Railshop. 

Because of time constraints, each of us was asked to name one place in the world that we felt consumers should consider for 2018 and my personal choice was Seattle in Washington state in the US. Aer Lingus will start direct, non-stop services to this part of the Pacific Northwest later this year and so Irish travellers will have the opportunity to explore what I have long considered to be one of the most beautiful parts of the United States. Seattle lies also equidistant between Vancouver in British Columbia, Canada and Portland in Oregon — each just a leisurely four-hour drive north or south. Seattle is home to both the world’s largest IT company (Microsoft) and airline manufacturer (Boeing) so right off the bat, travellers have some interesting and unique visits they can make without even moving out of the city. Vancouver itself regularly appears on lists of the top ten most beautiful cities in the world and has for years doubled as a backdrop to many a TV series or cinema blockbuster, such that it is now often referred to as the ‘Hollywood of the North!’ British Columbia itself is a huge province where bears roam freely in the countryside and whose forested areas alone are at least twice the size of the entire island of Ireland.

Moving south, one comes to Portland, also known as the ‘City of Roses’ and which, in turn, is the gateway to the Columbia River Gorge’, one of the most scenically beautiful regions within north America. Other notable tourist attractions within Oregon include the Cascade mountains, Multnomah Falls, Mt Hood and Crater Lake, located in central Oregon.

Other destinations that I feel merit special attention in 2018 but which unfortunately we did have time to discuss at Holiday World include Hong Kong, the Basque and Rioja regions of northern Spain, Central Portugal, South Africa, Turkey and cruising but we’ll save talking about them for future posts!

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