Thursday 14 November 2019

Less Irish people heading overseas for holidays but fewer visitors coming here too

Grainne Cunningham

THE number of people travelling overseas fell slightly this summer – despite our disappointing weather.

New figures show those using planes and ferries to make trips overseas fell by 0.4pc to 1,937,000, the Central Statistics Office has confirmed.

And in a further blow to the travel industry, the number of trips to Ireland during May and July also fell, compared to the same period last year.

The number of visits here by UK visitors fell by 6.8pc, while 3.3pc fewer US holidaymakers travelled here.

However, the number of visitors from other European countries rose slightly by 2.1pc and those from further afield also rose by 7.6pc.

Niall Gibbons, chief executive of Tourism Ireland today blamed global economic conditions and the ongoing problems within the euro zone for the persistently challenging environment for travel to Ireland.

However, he said there were some positive indicators, in the increased numbers from Europe.

“Visitor numbers from Germany are up 6pc, Italy 27.5pc, the Nordic region almost 10pc and Benelux almost 7pc - this growth is expected to continue into the autumn months,” he said.

Mr Gibbons also welcomed the improved figures from Australia and New Zealand, which are up 10pc for May to July and from emerging tourism markets like China and India of 5.7pc. He said this was “thanks in part to the improved ease of access, with 17 flights to Ireland now with Etihad and Emirates via the Middle East, as well as the visa waiver scheme”.

While noting that visitor numbers from North America are also down, he said the weekend’s high profile Notre Dame vs Navy game at the Aviva Stadium is set to be attended by about 35,000 American football fans, providing a very welcome boost for the tourism industry.

“Tourism Ireland has been delighted to assist in bringing this major sporting event to Dublin; it provides us with a fantastic opportunity to highlight the island of Ireland as a wonderful holiday destination, as well as a top location for sporting events.”

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