Sunday 26 May 2019

Irish trips overseas finally recover to near pre-crisis levels

(stock photo)
(stock photo)

David Chance

The number of Irish tourists heading overseas has staged a come-back to close levels not seen since before the financial crisis hit, according to the Central Statistical Office.

For the first three months of this year, residents here made 1.73mn trips overseas,  just shy of the 1.76mn trips in the first quarter of 2008 and were up 8pc from the first quarter of last year. In March of this year alone, there were 634,000 overseas trips.

Even as more of us headed overseas, foreign visitor numbers here also rose, even though the number of British visitors arriving in March fell to the lowest level for that month since the country’s 2016 vote to exit the European Union.

The data showed that overall tourist numbers rose 3.3pc  from March 2018 to 784,700 even as the number of British tourists fell by 3.1pc to 284,300 while trips from other European countries rose by 7.3pc to 289,500.

A 10.7pc surge in visitor numbers from the United States and Canada to 175,200 more than offset the lower numbers from the UK as an additional 17,000 visitors from North America came here versus 9,000 fewer Britons.

UK visitors still accounted for the bulk of the more than 2mn people who came here in the first quarter at 809,100 compared with 730,000 Europeans and 367,200 North Americans.

The rise in visitor numbers coincided with larger numbers of Irish residents heading overseas in March as 634,000 headed out of the country, a rise of 13.5pc from a year ago.

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