Friday 28 October 2016

Ireland named one of world's Top 10 summer destinations, thanks to three 'luxury' counties

$35 billion question

Published 10/05/2016 | 08:48

Ballyfin, Co. Laois
Ballyfin, Co. Laois

An analysis of $35 billion worth of travel transactions has seen Ireland named one of the world's hottest destinations to visit this summer.

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Luxury travel network Virtuoso, which last summer named Ashford Castle as the world's best hotel, lists its 10 hottest destinations as follows:

  1. Italy
  2. UK
  3. France
  4. Spain
  5. Netherlands
  6. Ireland
  7. Germany
  8. South Africa
  9. Greece
  10. Israel

The list comes after an analysis of travel-related transactions in North America ahead of summer 2016, Virtuoso says, and shows a 58pc increase in Irish bookings.

"Travellers visiting Ireland are flocking to Dublin and Galway in particular," it says, "along with County Laois in the centre of the country."

Laois is home to the 5-star Heritage Resort and Ballyfin, where Kanye West and Kim Kardashian are reported to have honeymooned in 2014.

“It’s another well-deserved accolade, which provides Tourism Ireland with a great hook to continue to promote the island of Ireland as a ‘must visit’ destination for American and Canadian travellers," said Alison Metcalfe of Tourism Ireland.

2015 was Ireland's busiest ever year for inbound tourism, with first quarter results for 2016 showing North American visits up 24.5pc.

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