Brexit sees Brits abandoning Irish holiday plans

We're having better success luring our transatlantic neighbours to Irish shores

Brexit sees Brits abandoning Irish holiday plans

Image: DAA

It's been a mixed year for Irish tourism thus far, as the latest CSO figures show Brexit is starting to bite.

The total number of trips to Ireland increased marginally – up 0.1% to 2,605,100 – in the period of February to April, though there is cause for concern when it comes to one of our biggest markets.

British residents made 10.7% less trips here year-on-year, with the significant drop in visitors from across the Irish Sea being blamed on the economic uncertainty following the UK's decision to leave the EU.

Leading tourism experts Oxford Economics estimate that outbound travel from Britain to all destinations will decline by 2.5% this year, meaning 1.5 million fewer trips overseas.

Roughly 40% of all our overseas visitors are British.

Irish visits from other European countries saw a slight bump – up 2.2% year-on-year to 741,800.

The biggest positive came from across the Atlantic. Trips by residents of North America to Ireland shot up 25.7% to 357,900 for that three-month period. We're attracting greater numbers of tourists from around the world, as well – visits from "other areas" increase by 16.7% to 109,700.

Tourism Ireland CEO Niall Gibbons said:

"A mixed picture in terms of results. Overall, just marginally ahead: 0.11%.

"We're seeing our market diversification strategy paying off in that North American visitors for the quarter to the end of April are up almost 26%.

"There's a drop in the number of visitors from Great Britain to Ireland over the last quarter of almost 11%.

"It means really that we have to work harder, be much more competitive in that marketplace. The economic situation in Britain is much more uncertain and that's having an impact on the number of British people travelling abroad."

Going the other way, we're getting more relaxed about taking holidays - the total number of overseas trips made by Irish residents jumped 11.9% to 1,737,500.