Leaving Cert pupils defy slump in rush for the sun
THE geography exam might be over but some students still have their minds set on the Med.
Leaving Cert holidays are back in vogue after being hit by the post-Celtic Tiger slump.
Travel agents have told the Herald that there has been a surge in interest from hard-working students looking to get over their hectic year of study.
Majorca appears to be this year's preferred destination, with travel agents reporting that the cheap flights and low cost of living have caught teenagers' attention.
Further afield, week-long breaks to the Canary Islands for up to five people are being advertised by some travel agents this week for less than €400.
Sun Kiss Travel states on its website that it "specialises in taking young school leavers on an exciting, young and lively holiday".
The firm adds that "The drinking games are about to start -- and the bar crawls ... well they'll blow you away".
The "clubbers' dream" resort of Ayia Napa in Cyprus as well as the "party Island" of Crete are amongst this year's favourite destinations, with Majorca proving the most popular.
Many clubs open till 6am and charge set entry fees of €20-€30, which includes free drinks.
LeavingCertholidays.com reckons 15,000 Leaving Cert students will enjoy sun holidays.
Company boss Juan Cullen told the Herald that students provide a huge market for operators despite the recession.
"Of course, things have been difficult since the crash but the school-leaving age group provides a huge market. Many travel agents just don't want to deal with students but we see that as turning your back on 15,000 people," he said.
"Students have booked in a variety of destinations this summer but Majorca certainly seems to be right up there."
Sharon Jordan, of leading world brand Contiki Tours, described the typical two-week August holiday as a "thing of the past" and said that travel agents had to start offering students something different.
"We have started providing theme-based holidays such as camping trips and outdoor concerts.
"We're all about ensuring the fun element is that the heart of the deals we offer Leaving Cert students," she said.
"Students want to party, they want to go somewhere with a great nightlife and they want an unforgettable experience and that's what we give them."
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