Tuesday 13 November 2018

We're splurging €4.3bn to escape to the sun

New York remains a popular destination for Irish tourists
New York remains a popular destination for Irish tourists

Irish holidaymakers spent €4.3bn last year on trips overseas, new figures from the Central Statistics Office have revealed.

When business trips and travel to visit friends and relatives were included, the total figure was €6.9bn.

There was a 7pc jump in trips overseas between 2016 and 2017, from 7,644,000 to 8,171,000, while there was a 2pc rise in domestic trips, from 9,359,000 to 9,626,000 in the period.

In 2017, half of all domestic trips were classified as holidays while more than three million trips, 32.2pc, were to visit friends or relatives.

In terms of our favourite places to visit, the UK, Spain, North America, France and Portugal remain top of the list.

The statistics showed Irish trips across the Atlantic - both business and pleasure - were last year more numerous than to our close neighbour France.

In 2016 there were 610,000 total trips to France but this fell to 550,000 in 2017.

Trips to the country made up 8pc of the total in 2016, but just 6.7pc in 2017.

By contrast, the number of trips to North America - the US and Canada - increased from 492,000 to 558,000 in the period. These trips were 6.4pc of the total in 2016 and 6.8pc of the total in 2017.

One reason for the bump in numbers to France in 2016 was the thousands of football fans who travelled to the Euros to watch Ireland take part in the tournament.

Total expenditure on domestic trips in 2017 amounted to €1.9bn.

A total of €1.1bn of this was by those on holidays, while those visiting friends or relatives spent €353m in 2017.


Trips to Spain saw the biggest jump in foreign travel figures in the period of 171,000, from 1,587,000 to 1,758,000.

Cormac Meehan, president of the Travel Agents Association, said the figures reflected a growing confidence in the economy.

"Certainly, people are more confident in making plans for their holidays," he said.

"I think it is also because there is now a lot more choice. Dublin has become a hub for many airlines and people are becoming more adventurous."

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