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Surge in airport arrivals from US but summer still a tourism disaster

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Photo: Gerry Mooney

Photo: Gerry Mooney

Photo: Gerry Mooney

More than 8,000 passengers from the US arrived in Ireland last month, with overall arrivals almost four times higher than June as the country emerged from lockdown.

According to the latest figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO), 8,100 passengers from the US arrived in Ireland and 4,100 people from Ireland travelled in the other direction.

However, with ongoing travel restrictions due to Covid-19 this was a fraction of the number of people who arrived into Ireland from the US in July 2019 when 199,700 passengers jetted in.

July saw 227,300 overseas arrivals, an increase of 298.1pc on June which saw only 57,100.

A total of 97,100 people who arrived into Ireland had travelled from the UK, 23,000 came from Spain and 13,200 from France.

Lockdown

However, travel into the country remained "dramatically lower" than in July 2019, when there were 2,225,900 arrivals.

The total number of passengers handled by airports in July 2020 fell from 3,911,133 to 416,436, a drop of 89.4pc when compared with the same period in 2019.

CSO data also shows the impact of the lockdown on travel in the first half of the year.

There was a fall of 70.5pc in travel into the country and abroad from January to July this year compared to 2019.

There was a surge in travel out of the country in July with 275,400 passengers leaving, compared to just 73,900 the previous month - a 272pc increase.

Departures in July grew after airlines increased flights and the Government published its so-called 'green list' on July 23, which allowed people to travel to certain countries and return home without having to restrict their movements for 14 days.

Some 82,800 passengers from Ireland who travelled overseas went to the UK, 38,500 to Spain and 23,800 to Poland.

Of the 227,300 people coming in and out of Ireland, the majority (82.7pc) travelled by plane.

Meanwhile, transport volumes continued to drop following the Government's announcement on August 18 to only use public transport where necessary and to work from home.

At the beginning of August, the "gradual recovery" in traffic volumes since mid-April dropped back due to local lockdowns in Kildare, Laois and Offaly and further nationwide restrictions on August 18.

The volume of private cars for the week of August 16 was 22.7pc lower in Dublin and 19.8pc lower in other areas than the corresponding week in 2019.

However, the volume of heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) in 2020 has exceeded 2019 volumes since June.

Crisis

The number of bus and rail journeys taken during the week of August 16 was 58.4pc lower than the first week of March, even though the country went into lockdown on the last three days of that week.

The data indicates that rail is the most severely hit form of transport.

At the start of April, the number of journeys was 97.2pc lower than it was in the first week of March.

In Dublin, the pandemic has had a slightly greater impact on passenger numbers on the Luas green line.

The CSO also reported that the number of journeys on public transport is not recovering at the same rate as road traffic.

The number of vehicles licensed in first seven months of 2020 fell by more than 31,000 compared to the same period in 2019.