Reign of Spain: 1.2 million Irish visit this year... and it's not over yet
One in four overseas trips
Over 1.2 million people travelled from Ireland to Spain between January and August 2015, according to new research.
The figures, compiled by the Spanish Statistical Institute and the Spanish Tourism Office in Ireland, represent a 12pc increase year on year.
Spain ranks second only to the UK in terms of trips taken by Irish residents, accounting for nearly one in four nights spent abroad, according to the CSO.
That's more than France, Italy, Portugal and Germany combined.
Spain also nets the highest share of Irish travel expenditure, receiving 21pc (over €1.2 billion) of the annual total we spend overseas.
Gonzalo Ceballos, Director of the Spanish Tourism Office in Ireland, said:
“I want to thank the Irish public for making Spain the leading destination for holidaymakers. The welcoming nature of the people, the rich culture and relaxed atmosphere attracts and unites Irish and Spanish people making it a success story year after year.”
Safety, climate, proximity and value for money are the key reasons behind Spain's attraction for Irish visitors, Mr. Ceballos told Independent Travel.
He expects 1.35 million Irish to visit Spain in 2015.
Ireland's favourite Spanish destinations include the Canary Islands (scheduled to receive 450,000 visits this year), Andalucía, Cataluña and the Valencia Region.