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Ski holidays put on ice as recession continues

written by Naomi_Richardson
25.01.10 Posted in Smart living 1 0

It's a slippery slope it seems when it comes to ski holidays. Despite the snow laden pistes and optimum ski conditions, it seems our love affair with winter sports has been put on ice while the recession continues to hold us in its wintry grip. The numbers taking to the slopes is down by half on the 70,000 who travelled in 2007, according to the Sunday Business Post.

We love a bargain just as much as skiingWe love a bargain just as much as skiing

Travel

Tony Collins, managing director of Topflight, Ireland’s biggest ski operator, said there were fewer than 40,000 ski seats on sale in the Irish market this year. And of those who are travelling, most are waiting until the days before they go to book their flights and hotels in a bid to get a better deal. He said that charter flights had been scaled back to a ‘‘more appropriate’’ level, but said he did expect some recovery in the years ahead. ‘‘The real market is still there, but people are deciding not to travel because of the economic uncertainty," said Collins. And there are bargains to had alright. It some cases the actual price is half of the price advertised in the brochure. Sounds like a good enough excuse to us. (Assuming you didn't get enough snow a few weeks ago). For more holiday options click on flights and hotels.

Mortgages

AIB may have to increase mortgage rates before its rival Bank of Ireland it seems, the Irish Independent reports. Bank of Ireland last week raised €2.5bn in a five-year bond issue, which cost the bank 145 basis points above the market average. AIB will shortly have to price its own issue and it is likely to be higher than Bank of Ireland's, brokers have speculated. This basically means the bank will have to pay for the extra funds/bonds by raising interest rates sooner than expected. The Government won't be best pleased about it and nor will any mortgage holders with the bank but both Irish banks were suffering from elevated funding costs, putting pressure on them to charge more for lending, the paper said.

Broadband

Ireland is still lagging behind when it comes to broadband. (This will come as a surprise to no one we think). While broadband accounts for 90pc of internet connections and speeds have improved, they remain below the fastest speeds available to customers in other OECD countries. Only 0.6pc of connections in Ireland are fibre connections, compared to an average of 11.3pc in OECD-28 countries. Greater investment in telecommunications infrastructure is required if we are going to get anywhere, Forfas said. The report, in the Irish Times, made a number of recommendations including a review by the Department of Communications and the communications regulator of options to increase revenues and reduce costs and risks for private sector operators, such as potential infrastructure sharing, reducing costs of building access networks, and a stronger role for the wireless spectrum in the delivery of higher-speed broadband. For more broadband options click here.

Credit cards

Meanwhile, if you are struggling to manage your credit card, the Sunday Independent has some advice on how to use your credit card wisely, especially when abroad. Louise McBride tells us that you could be charged twice as much interest for using your credit card to withdraw cash as you would if you used your card to buy something, which is one quick way to get yourself in a financial twist - if you're not in a position to clear that credit card bill quickly. You could wind up having to cough up thousands of euro in interest. For example, AIB's Platinum card, which says the report, is one of the most expensive for cash withdrawals, charges 11.5pc interest on credit card purchases, but 23.4pc interest on cash withdrawals. If you withdrew €4,000 in cash with this card while on holidays abroad, but did nothing to clear off this bill over the next year, the interest alone would add up to €1,027. Ouch! For more credit card options, click here.

Utilities

Irish businesses are paying more than their counterparts in Europe for energy but the gap is closing, says the Irish Times. That's thanks to an average fall of 15pc or more in gas and electricity prices in the first half of 2009, compared with a two per cent increase across the EU, according to a report by Government-funded Sustainable Energy Ireland (SEI). Household electricity prices rose by almost 15pc in the first half of 2009, leaving domestic prices 22pc above the EU. However, adjusting for cost of living differences, Irish domestic electricity prices were 4pc above the EU average and below the average for high-volume users. But on the good news front taking cost of living differences into account, SEI said that Ireland was cheaper for domestic gas, ranging from 15pc to 30pc below the EU average. The SEI said it hoped to see further improvement on the energy price front, given increased competition. Compare energy prices here.


Naomi_Richardson

Naomi Richardson lives in Meath with her family close to an UNESCO world heritage site. This is great for tourism but little else. When she's not cracking the editorial whip she enjoys eating chocolate and will keep doing so until her metabolism packs in.

Naomi_Richardson
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