Low fuel prices set to drive bumper bank holiday weekend - AA Ireland
Galway most popular 'Routeplanner' destination
AA Ireland is predicting an surge in overseas visitors this May bank holiday, driven largely by low fuel prices.
Data collected by the AA Routeplanner, which has already clocked almost two million route enquiries this year, indicates that Ireland is in for a bumper bank holiday.
“While we don’t have a crystal ball, last year’s activity around the May bank holiday can certainly act as a good barometer for the types of visitors we’ll see this year,” according to the AA's Director of Consumer Affairs, Conor Faughnan.
Comparing this year's figures with the same period last year, the AA is forecasting an increase in visitors which it says will largely be driven by lower fuel prices and the strength of the dollar and sterling against the euro.
According to its monthly fuel price index, average petrol and diesel prices for April 2015 are €1.39 and €1.31 per litre respectively in Ireland, compared to €1.57 and €1.48 during the same period last year.
"While the price of fuel is increasing, it still significantly lower than this time last year," Faughnan says.
Yesterday's CSO figures, which found that overseas visitor numbers rose 14pc in the first quarter of 2015, also suggest a busy bank holiday for tourism.
But it's not all good news, of course.
More drivers means more traffic, with motorists already bracing themselves for the effects of planned industrial action by Dublin Bus and Bus Eireann drivers this Friday and Saturday (May 1-2).
Growing numbers of staycationers are also set to hit the road, the AA adds.
Galway: Ireland's hottest Routeplanner destination
AA Hospitality Services polled 8,000 people in March of this year, with 26pc indicating that they plan to take more short weekend breaks in Ireland in 2015 compared to 2014... thanks to lower fuel prices.
Last year, Galway was the "most downloaded" destination on its Rouetplanner, the AA says, with some 1,000 overseas enquiries over the bank holiday period.
Hot on its heels was Co. Cork with 876 downloads, and Co. Kilkenny with 810.
Dublin was fourth most popular with 774 downloads.
With the predicted rise in tourism levels, the AA is also reminding motorists to take due care and plan ahead for any roadrtips they may take this weekend.
“For many people, this weekend will be the first long journey the car has done in months,” Faughnan says. “It’s a time when minor faults catch them out and can cause major headaches. A little advanced planning can save you an enormous amount of hassle later on.”