Going on holidays is a great way to break away from life's monotonity. For the Irish, even amidst price hikes and lack of availability of travel opportunities, the demand for foreign holidays remains high. While prices are up 20% for accommodations, flights, and other travel necessities, people prioritise travel over other forms of discretionary spending. In response to the availability issues, the Travel Department has added capacity to some of its most popular summer breaks, including river cruises, which have seen a surge in interest.
This desire to travel abroad may be due to recent survey results we've previously written about, in which 70% of Irish people believe staycations are overpriced. Due to this, young people aged 18 to 24 showed an enormous appetite for holidays abroad, with 75% claiming that increased costs will not hinder their holiday plans. As such, despite inflationary pressures on air travel, survey results predict travel demand will still thrive. In this post, we'll look at some more travel trends Irish holidaymakers are joining in on:
Last minute holidays
While most holidaymakers opt to book travel necessities such as flight tickets and hotel reservations months in advance, last minute holidays have become increasingly popular. These holidays are perfect for travellers looking for a spontaneous getaway, with travel provider easyJet showcasing how the trend offers great value year-round. Destinations include beach and city spots across Europe and North Africa any time of year. easyJet also helps guests select from a great choice of flight times, holiday durations, and travel dates — even at the last minute. For holidaymakers who want a break from their daily routine, last minute holidays are perfect and can be even more exciting than booking one in advance.
While we mentioned a decrease in staycation demand in our introduction, domestic tourism has seen more demand. This may be because domestic holidays are more affordable, accessible, and efficiently planned than holidays abroad. In 2022, the domestic tourism market more than doubled to almost 13.3 million number of trips taken by Irish holidaymakers at home. The Fáilte Ireland report shows a 134% increase in trips during 2022, from nearly 5.7 million in 2021. Income from domestic tourism also more than doubled in most counties, with revenue up fivefold in Roscommon/Longford to €97 million and Laois/Offaly to €60 million. Today, Dublin remains the most popular destination for domestic holidaymakers, recording more than 1.86 million visits from Irish holidaymakers in 2022. Major brands like Expedia and Costco Travel offer a number of Ireland-based tours and packages, so it's not a problem for travellers who aren't interested in DIY-ing their domestic trips.
Finally, another tourism trend among Irish holidaymakers is European destinations. These remain the most popular tourist destinations amongst Irish tourists. Spain is the most in-demand travel destination, logging an average of 2,400 searches per month. Spain boasts a relatively short flight time, great weather, and beautiful beaches. Aside from Spain, the Czech Republic also sees an increase in searches, recording a yearly increase of 600% in Ireland. One of the factors impacting European travel for Irish travellers may be their proximity to the continent; notably, alternative forms of travel like sailing are growing popular in this sphere. Brittany Ferries, for instance, is offering twice-weekly trips from the southeast tip of Rosslare to Bilbao, Spain, where passengers will need to take 29 - 30 hour crossings — perfect for those who wish to experience a slower journey.
In general, it seems Irish holidaymakers are more than ready to travel and go on getaways — whether abroad, in Ireland or anywhere at the last minute. Despite economic uncertainties and a decrease in availability, the surge in numbers doesn't seem to deter travellers from making holiday plans, so it would be interesting to see the statistics if or when travelling becomes more affordable for Irish holiday goers.
Written in collaboration with Josh McCarthy.