British tourists pulling back on travel to Ireland

CSO data shows inbound trips from Britain fell 2% in February compared with 2018

British tourists are increasingly opting not to travel to the Republic, with figures from February showing the number of travellers dropped 2 per cent.

Trips by residents of Britain fell to 258,100. But although that was lower than last year, it was up on the same month in 2017, according to figures from the Central Statistics Office.

The drop was more than offset by tourists from other destinations, with 6,800 more travellers coming from the rest of Europe, bringing the total to 208,900.

Similar trends were seen with other travellers. Some 7,200 extra tourists travelled from the US and Canada in the month, bringing the total to 86,800, with 6,800 extra tourists coming from "other areas".


Overall, almost 7 per cent more people have taken a trip to the Republic so far this year, with the total coming in at 1.24 million.

Irish residents increased the volume of trips they took overseas, with 1.09 million trips taken in January and February, an increase of 5 per cent on the same period in 2018. That is attributable to February’s increase, however, as outbound trips actually fell in January.

The total number of overseas trips made by Irish residents during the month increased 13 per cent on the previous year.

Dublin initiative

The statistics come as Fáilte Ireland announced more than €1.75 million in grant funding for 11 Dublin visitor attractions. Applicants include Glasnevin Cemetery Museum; the GAA Museum at Croke Park; Epic – the Irish Emigration Museum; Newbridge House and Farm; and Clondalkin Round Tower.

“Our Dublin’s Surprising Stories Grant Scheme is all about bringing the great stories of Dublin and its people to life in a way that creates a genuine interest and unforgettable experience for the visitor,” said Fáilte Ireland chief executive Paul Kelly.

According to Trip Advisor, Dublin, Killarney and Galway were the three most popular locations in the Republic.

The CSO's monthly overseas travel survey is conducted at Dublin, Cork, Shannon, Knock and Kerry airports and Rosslare, Ringaskiddy and Dublin seaports. It doesn't include travel by residents of Northern Ireland into or out of the Republic or domestic travel within the Republic.

In 2018 more than 10.6 million overseas residents took a trip to Ireland, and Irish residents took 8.27 million trips abroad.

Peter Hamilton

Peter Hamilton

Peter Hamilton is a contributor to The Irish Times specialising in business