Tourism Ireland has spent more than €540,000 on market research to try to track the impact of Covid-19 on visitor travel plans, with the country considered "one of the most comfortable destinations for a short break or holiday during social distancing".
The tourism body said the expenditure included five separate waves of research between May and November.
The bill so far has come to €543,328, excluding VAT.
The latest stage of the research - conducted in November - saw the "lowest levels of comfort" about taking a European trip.
While Tourism Ireland said the survey pre-dated the announcement of vaccines, Ireland still ranked highly among tourists when it came to comfort levels.
The research showed holidaymakers were still "planning and dreaming of their next trip".
"Personal indulgence and a treat after the difficult lockdown period are driving motivations in travel," said a briefing note.
Lower rates of Covid-19 and a vaccine were considered key factors in encouraging travel, but also comprehensive insurance, the availability of high-quality healthcare, and access to testing.
The Tourism Ireland brief said: "The island of Ireland is considered one of the most comfortable destinations for a short break or holiday during social distancing.
"However, comfort levels have reduced - for both the island of Ireland and for other destinations."
The research - involving surveys of people in the UK, US, Germany, and France - found that many were unsure about a holiday location for 2021.
Those surveyed said word of mouth, official government sources, price comparison websites and travel agents would influence them most.
Tourism Ireland said it expects an "improvement" in confidence in the next wave of research.
It said this would identify which groups are ready to holiday again in summer and which markets offer the "best prospects" for Ireland.
A spokesperson said: "The insights we gain will ensure that our future promotional plan is as tightly targeted and as powerfully motivational as it possibly can be, in order to drive a strong recovery."
It said the first two phases had been carried out by Kantar Millward Brown.
The later phases were conducted by Red C Research.